Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Iron supplementation can provide cognitive, physical benefits to anemic children

Date:
October 15, 2013
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
Giving daily iron supplements to anemic primary-school-aged children can have cognitive and physical benefits, according to a study.

Giving daily iron supplements to anemic primary-school-aged children can have cognitive and physical benefits, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Related Articles


Globally, approximately 25% of school-aged children are anemic, with iron deficiency the cause of about half of all cases. Iron deficiency, which has been associated with impaired cognitive and physical development, is caused by a lack of dietary iron and, in developing countries, by parasites such as hookworm and schistosomiasis. In developed countries, newcomers, native people and some ethnic populations can be anemic. About 3% of primary-school-aged children in Canada are anemic. However, concerns that iron supplementation may have negative health effects limit efforts to address iron deficiencies.

To understand the effects of iron supplementation, Australian researchers conducted an analysis of 32 studies including 7089 children mainly in low- and middle-income countries. Anemic children who received iron supplements had higher cognitive scores than children in the control groups (9 studies with 2355 children). They also showed substantial improvement in IQ scores and other cognitive tests. Children who received iron supplements were also slightly taller for their age and had improved weight-for-age compared with children who did not.

"We found evidence of a benefit of iron supplementation on cognitive performance among primary-school-aged children, including on IQ among children with anemia," writes Dr. Sant-Rayn Pasricha, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, with coauthors. "Iron may also improve growth. Daily iron supplementation decreased the prevalence of anemia by about 50% and reduced the prevalence of iron deficiency by 79%."

There appeared to be no adverse effects, with no differences in the prevalence of malaria or gastrointestinal issues between the groups that received iron and the control groups. In addition, some studies reported fewer respiratory tract infections.

The study is larger and broader than others, with a comprehensive analysis of benefits and safety of iron supplementation.

"Iron supplementation benefits global cognitive performance … .Routine daily iron supplementation is likely to benefit cognitive performance in primary school children in developing settings where anemia is prevalent and testing hemoglobin before iron supplementation may not be feasible," the authors conclude.

In a related commentary, Dr. Katherine Gray-Donald, McGill University, Montrιal, writes that this meta-analysis "is important in that it quantifies the robust effects of iron supplementation on cognitive performance among anemic children who are iron deficient. The next challenge is to determine how to safely, economically and sustainably provide better iron nutrition to children in many poor settings of the world. Clearly anemic children will benefit, but the risks of iron for all remain to be elucidated."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Low, A. Farrell, B.-A. Biggs, S.-R. Pasricha. Effects of daily iron supplementation in primary-school-aged children: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.130628

Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Iron supplementation can provide cognitive, physical benefits to anemic children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015123519.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2013, October 15). Iron supplementation can provide cognitive, physical benefits to anemic children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015123519.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Iron supplementation can provide cognitive, physical benefits to anemic children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015123519.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) — Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) — Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) — As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins