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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2 Suppl):464S-469S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/68.2.464S.

Zinc deficiency and child development.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


Zinc is a trace metal that is present in the brain and contributes to its structure and function. Limited evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that zinc deficiency may lead to delays in cognitive development. Although the mechanisms linking zinc deficiency with cognitive development are unclear, it appears that zinc deficiency may lead to deficits in children's neuropsychologic functioning, activity, or motor development, and thus interfere with cognitive performance. In this article a model is presented that incorporates the influence of social context and the caregiving environment and suggests that the relation between zinc deficiency and cognitive development may vary by age in children and may be mediated by neuropsychologic functioning, activity, and motor development. Suggestions for further research are provided.

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