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Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5406, USA.
Early Human Development (Impact Factor: 1.79). 08/2008; 84(7):479-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2007.12.009
Source: PubMed


Iron deficiency (ID) during early development impairs myelination and basal ganglia function in animal models.
To examine the effects of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and iron deficiency (ID) without anemia on infant motor skills that are likely related to myelination and basal ganglia function.
Observational study.
Full-term inner-city African-American 9- to 10-month-old infants who were free of acute or chronic health problems with iron status indicators ranging from IDA to iron sufficiency (n=106). Criteria for final iron status classification were met by 77 of these infants: 28 IDA, 28 non-anemic iron-deficient (NA ID), and 21 iron-sufficient (IS).
Gross motor developmental milestones, Peabody Developmental Motor Scale, Infant Neurological International Battery (INFANIB), motor quality factor of the Bayley Behavioral Rating Scale, and a sequential/bi-manual coordination toy retrieval task. General linear model analyses tested for linear effects of iron status group and thresholds for effects.
There were linear effects of iron status on developmental milestones, Peabody gross motor (suggestive trend), INFANIB standing item, motor quality, and toy retrieval. The threshold for effects was ID with or without anemia for developmental milestones, INFANIB standing item, and motor quality and IDA for toy retrieval.
Using a comprehensive and sensitive assessment of motor development, this study found poorer motor function in ID infants with and without anemia. Poorer motor function among non-anemic ID infants is particularly concerning, since ID without anemia is not detected by common screening procedures and is more widespread than IDA.

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Available from: Tal Shafir, Oct 16, 2014
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    • "An estimated 25% of pregnancies worldwide are thought to involve iron deficiency anemia (IDA), the most severe form of iron deficiency (Stoltzfus, 2003). This is increasingly recognized as a serious concern for CNS development, as early gestational IDA is associated with long-lasting cognitive abnormalities that affect language learning, behavior, general nerve conductivity (Algarin et al., 2003; Beard, 2003; Lozoff et al., 2008), altered motor function, and coordination (Shafir et al., 2008). Many of the impairments cannot be reversed with iron supplementation, suggesting a critical window of vulnerability exists during early development (Kwik-Uribe et al., 2000; Lozoff et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Iron is critical in multiple aspects of CNS development, but its role in neurodevelopment--the ability of iron deficiency to alter normal development--is difficult to dissociate from the effects of anemia. We developed a novel dietary restriction model in the rat that allows us to study the effects of iron deficiency in the absence of severe anemia. Using a combination of auditory brainstem response analyses (ABR) and electron microscopy, we identified an unexpected impact of nonanemic iron deficiency on axonal diameter and neurofilament regulation in the auditory nerve. These changes are associated with altered ABR latency during development. In contrast to models of severe iron deficiency with anemia, we did not find consistent or prolonged defects in myelination. Our data demonstrate that iron deficiency in the absence of anemia disrupts normal development of the auditory nerve and results in altered conduction velocity.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 04/2012; 32(14):5010-5. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0526-12.2012 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    • "ID and untreated IDA during pregnancy have many negative consequences for the offspring and have been shown to be associated with a higher incidence of low birth weight and prematurity [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], long-term cognitive abnormalities such as language learning impairments and behavioral changes [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30], [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], alteration in thermoregulation [36], changes in lipid metabolism [37], stroke and seizures [38], [39], altered motor function and coordination [40], [41], [42], and in many cases alteration of Auditory Brainstem Responses (ABRs, [35], [43], [44], [45], [46], a measure of nerve impulse conduction in the auditory system). Gestational ID also has been shown to change iron homeostasis in the offspring resulting in increased risk of developing ID later in life despite adequate nutrition [47], [48], [49]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is well acknowledged from observations in humans that iron deficiency during pregnancy can be associated with a number of developmental problems in the newborn and developing child. Due to the obvious limitations of human studies, the stage during gestation at which maternal iron deficiency causes an apparent impairment in the offspring remains elusive. In order to begin to understand the time window(s) during pregnancy that is/are especially susceptible to suboptimal iron levels, which may result in negative effects on the development of the fetus, we developed a rat model in which we were able to manipulate and monitor the dietary iron intake during specific stages of pregnancy and analyzed the developing fetuses. We established four different dietary-feeding protocols that were designed to render the fetuses iron deficient at different gestational stages. Based on a functional analysis that employed Auditory Brainstem Response measurements, we found that maternal iron restriction initiated prior to conception and during the first trimester were associated with profound changes in the developing fetus compared to iron restriction initiated later in pregnancy. We also showed that the presence of iron deficiency anemia, low body weight, and changes in core body temperature were not defining factors in the establishment of neural impairment in the rodent offspring. Our data may have significant relevance for understanding the impact of suboptimal iron levels during pregnancy not only on the mother but also on the developing fetus and hence might lead to a more informed timing of iron supplementation during pregnancy.
    PLoS ONE 03/2011; 6(3):e17483. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0017483 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The risk factors of anemia include low birth weight, low income family, and minority ethnic group [3]. It is also important to diagnose and manage iron deficiency because of its effects on cognitive development and increased morbidity in children [4] [5]. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for all infants between the ages of 9– 12 months and then 6 months later whereas for children at high risk, screening is needed once a year from age 2 to 5 years. "
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    ABSTRACT: Infancy is a vulnerable age group for anemia throughout the world. However, community-based screening for infantile anemia is seldom reported. This study determined the prevalence of anemia among infants in an Okinawan village from 2003 to 2008, in relation to secondary prevention of the condition. The prevalence among infants aged 3-5, 6-12 and 16-23 months was 12.3%, 15.8%, and 4.2%, respectively, based on cross-sectional surveys (n = 3070), and was 11.0%, 17.2%, and 3.9% according to another retrospective cohort study (n = 511). The relatively low prevalence of anemia at early childhood suggested that previous detection and treatment through early and late infantile screening had been successful.
    Anemia 01/2011; 2011(2090-1267):278371. DOI:10.1155/2011/278371
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