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Nutrients 2014, 6(6), 2419-2435; doi:10.3390/nu6062419

A Study of the Effects of Latent Iron Deficiency on Measures of Cognition: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial of Iron Supplementation in Young Women

1
Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition and School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
2
School of Psychology, Faculty of Science and IT, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 April 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 23 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron Deficiency: Development, Implications and Treatment)
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Abstract

Rates of iron deficiency are high amongst healthy young women. Cognitive impairment occurs secondary to iron deficiency in infants and children, but evaluation of the impact on cognition among young women is inconsistent. The aim was to determine the suitability of the IntegNeuro test battery for assessing cognitive function in iron-deficient and iron-sufficient young women. A pilot double-blinded, placebo-controlled intervention trial was conducted in iron-deficient (serum ferritin ≤ 20 μg/L and haemoglobin > 120 g/L) and iron-sufficient young women (18–35 years). Cognitive function and haematological markers of iron status were measured at baseline and follow-up. Iron-deficient participants (n = 24) were randomised to receive placebo, 60 mg or 80 mg elemental iron daily supplements for 16 weeks. A control group of iron-sufficient participants (n = 8) was allocated to placebo. Change scores for Impulsivity and Attention were significantly greater in plasma ferritin improvers than in non-improvers (p = 0.004, p = 0.026). IntegNeuro was easy to administer and acceptable to young women. Based on the differences in Memory and Attention scores between iron-deficient participants on iron treatment and those on placebo, it was decided that between 26 and 84 participants would be required in each iron treatment group for an adequately powered extension of this pilot RCT.
Keywords: iron; women; cognition; memory; attention; supplementation iron; women; cognition; memory; attention; supplementation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Leonard, A.J.; Chalmers, K.A.; Collins, C.E.; Patterson, A.J. A Study of the Effects of Latent Iron Deficiency on Measures of Cognition: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial of Iron Supplementation in Young Women. Nutrients 2014, 6, 2419-2435.

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