For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
SIMS21, Poland 2017 - Karen Jacqueline Cloete abstract

Karen Jacqueline Cloete oral presentation (OA2-Mon3-3-5)

Detection of the psychopharmaceutical and micronutrient lithium in scalp hair by time-of-flight MeV-SIMS

Karen Jacqueline Cloete1, Boštjan Jenčič2, Žiga Šmit2,3, Mitja Kelemen2,4, Jennifer van Wyk5, Kwezikazi Mkentane5, Nonhlanhla Khumalo5,6, Primož Pelicon2

1 iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences, Old Faure Road, 7129 Somerset West, South Africa
2 Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova cesta, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3 University of Ljubljana, Jadranska ulica 19, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
4 Jožef Stefan Postgraduate School, Jamova cesta, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia
5 University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital, 7925 Cape Town, South Africa
6 Red Cross Children's Hospital, Red Cross Children's Hospital, 7925 Cape Town, South Africa


Hair has become a popular substrate in clinical medicine to screen for medication adherence and micronutrient deficiencies due to its unique properties. Some of the distinctive properties of hair include its ability to provide a longer diagnostic window and store higher concentrations of chemical compounds than blood or urine [1]. Particularly when determining medication compliance in forensic samples, the ease with which hair may be sampled and stored effectively minimizes the risk of manipulation and cross-contamination. Hair screening may however be significantly influenced by choice of analytical methodology, as some techniques may present with challenges in screening for both high-Z and low-Z elements in biological samples such as hair. An example of a low-Z element that has received increased attention as both a psychopharmaceutical and micronutrient is lithium, the lightest of alkali metals [2]. Lithium is often exploited in the psychiatric setting as a mood-stabilizing agent in the treatment of affective disorders, but its levels as a micronutrient in the body may also point to certain pathological conditions, e.g. heart disease, learning disability, and violent criminals. Here, the application of time-of-flight MeV secondary ion mass spectrometry (MeV-SIMS) for the detection of lithium in scalp hair is presented. Scalp hair samples were washed to remove external contaminants, longitudinally sectioned and introduced into the analytical setup of the linear time-of-flight mass spectrometer for MeV-SIMS added to the nuclear microprobe at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia. This approach allowed the simultaneous detection and localized distribution of lithium in longitudinally sectioned scalp hair fibres. The significance of this finding and further applications of applying time-of-flight MeV-SIMS for the detection of lithium in hair will be discussed.