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J Pediatr. 2002 Feb;140(2):165-70.

Cord serum ferritin concentrations and mental and psychomotor development of children at five years of age.

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Department of Nutrition Sciences, Civitan International Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294-3360, USA.



Our purpose was to evaluate the association between fetal iron status and mental and psychomotor development at 5 years of age.


We evaluated the association of fetal iron status (umbilical cord serum ferritin concentrations) with test scores of mental and psychomotor development of 278 children. Six tests were given, including full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ), language ability, fine- and gross-motor skills, attention, and tractability.


Compared with children with cord ferritin in the 2 median quartiles, those in the lowest quartile scored lower on every test and had significantly worse language ability, fine-motor skills, and tractability. They were also 4.8-fold more likely to score poorly in fine-motor skills and 2.7-fold more likely to have poor tractability than children in the median quartiles. FSIQ in the highest quartile was slightly, but not significantly, lower than the median quartiles, but the odds ratio for having a FSIQ score of less than 70 for children in the highest quartile was 3.3 (95% CI 1.2-9.1).


Poor iron status (low ferritin) in utero appears to be associated with diminished performance in certain mental and psychomotor tests. The reason for the association between high ferritin concentrations and low FSIQ scores is unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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