The aim of this pilot study was to predict the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by the elemental content in fingernails and urine with machine learning analysis. Sixty seven pregnant women (34 control and 33 GDM patient) were included. Fingernails and urine were collected in the first and second trimesters, respectively. The concentrations of elements were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Logistic regression model was applied to estimate the adjusted odd ratios and 95% confidence intervals. The predictive performances of multiple machine learning algorithms were evaluated, and an ensemble model was built to predict the risk for GDM based on the elemental contents in the fingernails. Beryllium, selenium, tin and copper were positively associated with the risk of GDM while nickel and mercury showed opposite result. The trained ensemble model showed larger area under curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic curve (0.81) using fingernail Ni, Cu and Se concentrations. The model was validated by external data set with AUC = 0.71. In summary, the results of the present study highlight the potential of fingernails, as an alternative sample, together with machine learning in human biomonitoring studies.
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