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A Preliminary X-Ray Study on Human-Hair Microstructures for a Health-State Indicator

Authors: Phannee Saengkaew, Weerasak Ussawawongaraya, Sasiphan Khaweerat, Supagorn Rugmai, Sirisart Ouajai, Jiraporn Luengviriya, Sakuntam Sanorpim, Manop Tirarattanasompot, Somboon Rhianphumikarakit


We present a preliminary x-ray study on human-hair microstructures for a health-state indicator, in particular a cancer case. As an uncomplicated and low-cost method of x-ray technique, the human-hair microstructure was analyzed by wide-angle x-ray diffractions (XRD) and small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS). The XRD measurements exhibited the simply reflections at the d-spacing of 28 Å, 9.4 Å and 4.4 Å representing to the periodic distance of the protein matrix of the human-hair macrofibrous and the diameter and the repeated spacing of the polypeptide alpha helixes of the photofibrils of the human-hair microfibrous, respectively. When compared to the normal cases, the unhealthy cases including to the breast- and ovarian-cancer cases obtained higher normalized ratios of the x-ray diffracting peaks of 9.4 Å and 4.4 Å. This likely resulted from the varied distributions of microstructures by a molecular alteration. As an elemental analysis by x-ray fluorescence (XRF), the normalized quantitative ratios of zinc(Zn)/calcium(Ca) and iron(Fe)/calcium(Ca) were determined. Analogously, both Zn/Ca and Fe/Ca ratios of the unhealthy cases were obtained higher than both of the normal cases were. Combining the structural analysis by XRD measurements and the elemental analysis by XRF measurements exhibited that the modified fibrous microstructures of hair samples were in relation to their altered elemental compositions. Therefore, these microstructural and elemental analyses of hair samples will be benefit to associate with a diagnosis of cancer and genetic diseases. This functional method would lower a risk of such diseases by the early diagnosis. However, the high-intensity x-ray source, the highresolution x-ray detector, and more hair samples are necessarily desired to develop this x-ray technique and the efficiency would be enhanced by including the skin and fingernail samples with the human-hair analysis.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, XRD, SAXS, Human-hair analysis, health-state indicator

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