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Curr Pediatr Rep. 2014 Dec 1;2(4):291-298.

Striking while the iron is hot: Understanding the biological and neurodevelopmental effects of iron deficiency to optimize intervention in early childhood.

Author information

1
Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota, 51 E River Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55413..
2
Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Pediatric Neonatology, 6th Floor East Building MB630, 2450 Riverside Ave Minneapolis, MN 55454.

Abstract

Prenatal and early postnatal iron deficiency (ID) is associated with long-term neurobiological alterations and disruptions in cognitive, social, and behavioral development. Early life ID is particularly detrimental as this is a period of rapid neurodevelopment. Even after iron supplementation, cognitive and social disruptions often persist in formerly iron deficient individuals. Observational studies of the acute and long-term effects of early life ID yield different results based on the timing of ID. Further, intervention studies demonstrate some improvement for certain domains but still show residual effects years later, which are dependent on the timing of ID and treatment. This review will cover the effects of ID during infancy and early childhood on brain structure and function, cognition, and behavior in relation to preclinical models of ID and sensitive periods of human brain development.

KEYWORDS:

Iron deficiency; infancy; neurodevelopment; nutritional interventions; toddlerhood

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