Caffeine in hair

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Last year I had an undergraduate student investigate the analysis of caffeine in hair samples. The aim was to determine if there was a correlation between the amount of caffeine in the hair sample and the amount of caffeine drunk by the individual.

The student produced a very good project with a fully validated method. The method analysed caffeine and three metabolites using HPLC with a UV detector. The student analysed twenty hair samples for caffeine and metabolites and plotted this versus the caffeine intake. There was a definite trend but with such a small data set it was not possible to draw further conclusions.

This year I have a student working up a method for the same topic but using an LC-MS method. Once this method is up and running we hope to analyse a much larger sample number allowing us to draw some conclusions. Watch this space for updates!

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About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He is currently the subject lead for chemistry and forensic science at Sheffield Hallam University. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. And yes... he watches CSI.