Iron deficiency and child and maternal health

Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 02/2009; 89(3):946S-950S. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26692D
Source: PubMed


Iron deficiency is most commonly found in women of reproductive age and infants worldwide, but the influence of maternal iron deficiency on infant development is underexplored.
The objective was to examine the relation between maternal iron status and mother-child interactions in a randomized, double-blind, intervention trial conducted in South Africa.
Women were recruited into the study from a health clinic at 6-8 wk postpartum and were classified as either iron-deficient anemic (IDA) or iron-sufficient after blood analysis. IDA mothers received iron supplements of 125 mg FeSO(4) (IDA-Fe; n = 34) or placebo (IDA-PL; n = 30) daily from 10 wk to 9 mo postpartum. The control group (n = 31) consisted of iron-sufficient mothers. Free-play mother-child interaction sessions were videotaped in the clinic at 10 wk (n = 80) and 9 mo (n = 66) postpartum and coded per the Emotional Availability Scales (4 maternal scales: sensitivity, structuring, nonintrusiveness, and nonhostility; 2 infant scales: responsiveness and involvement).
At 10 wk, scores for maternal sensitivity and child responsiveness were significantly greater in the control group than in the IDA groups (P = 0.028 and 0.009, respectively). At 9 mo, the control and IDA-Fe groups no longer differed. These 2 groups scored significantly better on the maternal sensitivity, structuring, and nonhostility scales and on the child responsiveness scale than did the IDA-PL group (P = 0.007-0.032), whose iron status remained low.
These data indicate that maternal iron deficiency negatively affects mother-child interactions and that iron supplementation protects against these negative effects.

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    • "In this study, ferritin was significantly lower in children with in-attentive and hyperactive types than in controls; this is consistent with other studies [27,28]. No significant difference in ferritin levels was found between children with combined type and controls, and this is not in accordance with the previous studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a behavioral syndrome of childhood characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. There were many etiological theories showed dysfunction of some brain areas that are implicated in inhibition of responses and functions of the brain. Minerals like zinc, ferritin, magnesium and copper may play a role in the pathogenesis and therefore the treatment of this disorder. This study aimed to measure levels of zinc, ferritin, magnesium and copper in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and comparing them to normal. This study included 58 children aged 5-15 years with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder attending Minia University Hospital from June 2008 to January 2010. They were classified into three sub-groups: sub-group I included 32 children with in-attentive type, sub-group II included 10 children with hyperactive type and sub-group III included 16 children with combined type according to the DSM-IV criteria of American Psychiatric Association, 2000. The control group included 25 apparently normal healthy children. Zinc, ferritin and magnesium levels were significantly lower in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than controls (p value 0.04, 0.03 and 0.02 respectively), while copper levels were not significantly different (p value 0.9). Children with inattentive type had significant lower levels of zinc and ferritin than controls (p value 0.001 and 0.01 respectively) with no significant difference between them as regards magnesium and copper levels (p value 0.4 and 0.6 respectively). Children with hyperactive type had significant lower levels of zinc, ferritin and magnesium than controls (p value 0.01, 0.02 and 0.02 respectively) with no significant difference between them as regards copper levels (p value 0.9). Children with combined type had significant lower levels of zinc and magnesium than controls (p value 0.001 and 0.004 respectively) with no significant difference between them as regards ferritin and copper levels (p value 0.7 and 0.6 respectively). Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had lower levels of zinc, ferritin and magnesium than healthy children but had normal copper levels.
    Italian Journal of Pediatrics 12/2011; 37(1):60. DOI:10.1186/1824-7288-37-60 · 1.52 Impact Factor
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    • "The only widely implemented vitamin or mineral program for women at national level is iron-folate supplementation during pregnancy. When maternal anemia during pregnancy is successfully corrected, it results in an average 20% decline in maternal mortality [78] and improves women's cognitive functioning [79] as well as their capacity to care for their children [80-82]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Women's nutrition has received little attention in nutrition programming, even though clinical trials and intervention trials have suggested that dietary improvement or supplementation with several nutrients may improve their health, especially in low-income settings, the main focus of this paper. Most attention so far has focused on how improvements in maternal nutrition can improve health outcomes for infants and young children. Adequate vitamin D and calcium nutrition throughout life may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and calcium supplementation during pregnancy may reduce preeclampsia and low birth weight. To reduce neural tube defects, additional folic acid and possibly vitamin B(12) need to be provided to non-deficient women before they know they are pregnant. This is best achieved by fortifying a staple food. It is unclear whether maternal vitamin A supplementation will lead to improved health outcomes for mother or child. Iron, iodine and zinc supplementation are widely needed for deficient women. Multimicronutrient supplementation (MMS) in place of the more common iron-folate supplements given in pregnancy in low-income countries may slightly increase birth weight, but its impact on neonatal mortality and other outcomes is unclear. More sustainable alternative approaches deserve greater research attention.
    Nutrition research and practice 02/2011; 5(1):3-10. DOI:10.4162/nrp.2011.5.1.3 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    • "With a goal of better understanding the link between ID and altered cognitive functioning, further research by Professor John Beard's colleagues and students is underway to examine the effect of ID and iron treatment on sensitive elements of neural functioning. Future research is expected to shed more light on the nature of the relationship between systemic iron status and brain iron status (Murray-Kolb, personal communication 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Iron deficiency (ID) anemia is associated with poor neurocognitive development in infants and children. Depending on the stage of development at the time of deficiency, these adverse effects may be reversible. Recent investigations using sensitive measurements have confirmed that the deposition of iron in the brain varies according to brain region and age, and that dopamine-dependent behaviors are among the core deficits in ID. Dr John Beard (1947-2009) has been one of the leading scientists and pioneers in the area of iron and child development. His legacy to this area of science will grow through the continuation of his work by his co-workers and colleagues.
    Nutrition Reviews 11/2010; 68 Suppl 1(11):S48-52. DOI:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00331.x · 6.08 Impact Factor
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