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J Pediatr. 2013 Nov;163(5):1267-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.06.020. Epub 2013 Aug 9.

Latent iron deficiency in utero is associated with abnormal auditory neural myelination in ≥ 35 weeks gestational age infants.

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  • 1Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY. Electronic address: Sanjiv_Amin@urmc.rochester.edu.



To determine whether cord serum ferritin level is associated with auditory brainstem evoked response interpeak latencies, an index of auditory neural myelination, in infants at ≥ 35 weeks gestational age (GA).


This prospective study compared auditory neural myelination in infants with latent iron deficiency (cord serum ferritin, 11-75 ng/mL) and infants with normal iron status (cord serum ferritin, >75 ng/mL) at birth. Our inclusion criteria were infants born at ≥ 35 weeks GA who had cord blood collected soon after birth and had 1 or more of the following risk factors for poor in utero iron status: maternal diabetes mellitus, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and intrauterine growth restriction. Cord serum ferritin level was measured using the chemiluminescence immunoassay method. Auditory brainstem evoked response was measured using 80-dB normal hearing level click stimuli at a rate of 69.9/second within 48 hours after birth to evaluate interpeak latencies, a measure of nerve conduction velocity or myelination.


Of the 45 infants studied, 12 had latent iron deficiency. On repeated-measures ANCOVA using interpeak latencies I-III, III-V, and I-V as multiple outcomes, infants with latent iron deficiency had significantly prolonged interpeak latencies (P = .01) compared with infants with normal iron status after controlling for confounders.


In utero latent iron deficiency is associated with abnormal auditory neural myelination at birth in infants born at ≥ 35 weeks GA.

Copyright © 2013 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


ABR; Auditory brainstem evoked response; GA; Gestational age

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