Identification of Human Age Using Trace Element Concentrations in Hair and the Support Vector Machine Method

Jinmei Lv*, Wuyi Wang, Fengying Zhang, Thomas Krafft, Fuqing Yuan, Yonghua Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Trace element content in hair is affected by the age of the donor. Hair samples of subjects from four counties in China where people are known to have long lifespan ("longevity counties") were collected and the trace element content determined. Samples were subdivided into three age groups based on the age of the donors from whom these were taken: children (0-15 years); elderly (80-99 years); and centenarians (a parts per thousand yen100 years). We compared the trace element content in hair of different age groups of subjects. Support vector machine classification results showed that a non-linear polynomial kernel function could be used to classify the three age groups of people. Age did not have a significant effect on the content of Ca and Cd in human hair. The content of Li, Mg, Mn, Zn, Cr, Cu, and Ni in human hair changed significantly with age. The magnitude of the age effect on trace element content in hair was in the order Cu > Zn > Ni > Mg > Mn > Cr > Li. Cu content in hair decreased significantly with increasing age. The hair of centenarians had higher levels of Li and Mn, and lower levels of Cr, Cu, and Ni comparing with that of the children and elderly subjects. This could be a beneficial factor of their long lifespan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1441-1450
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Age
  • Trace element
  • Hair
  • Support vector machine
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Centenarians


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