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Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1216;

Iron Deficiency Anemia, Not Iron Deficiency, Is Associated with Reduced Attention in Healthy Young Women

Faculty of Health Sciences, Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia
School of Exercise Science, Sport and Health, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW 2795, Australia
Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
Sydney Medical School, Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, The University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
Metabolism and Obesity Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia
School of Biochemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 October 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 5 November 2017
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Women of reproductive age are at increased risk for iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA), with both implicated in decreased cognitive function (CF). Obesity may complicate this association via inflammatory-mediated ferritin elevation. This cross-sectional study examined the association between hematological iron status (iron replete (IR), ID or IDA) and CF in healthy, young (18–35 years) women of normal-weight (NW: BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) or obese-weight (OB: BMI >30 kg/m2). Participants completed a validated, computer-based cognition assessment evaluating impulsivity, attention, information processing, memory and executive function; CF reported as z-scores (mean ± SD). Iron status and CF were compared between groups via ANOVA, with adjustment for potential confounders (BMI, physical activity, C-reactive protein) via ANCOVA. A total of 157 NW and 142 OB women (25.8 ± 5.1 years) participated. Prevalence of ID and IDA were 14% and 6% respectively, with no significant difference between NW and OB groups. Women with IDA scored significantly lower on attention (although within normal range; ±1 z-score), compared to ID (IDA: −0.75 ± 1.89; ID: 0.53 ± 1.37; p = 0.004) but not IR (0.03 ± 1.33, p = 0.21) groups; there were no significant differences between ID and IR groups (p = 0.34). Adjustment for confounders did not significantly alter these results. In conclusion, women with IDA showed significantly reduced attention compared to women with ID. View Full-Text
Keywords: iron deficiency; cognition; attention; anemia; young adults; young women iron deficiency; cognition; attention; anemia; young adults; young women

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Cook, R.L.; O’Dwyer, N.J.; Parker, H.M.; Donges, C.E.; Cheng, H.L.; Steinbeck, K.S.; Cox, E.P.; Franklin, J.L.; Garg, M.L.; Rooney, K.B.; O’Connor, H.T. Iron Deficiency Anemia, Not Iron Deficiency, Is Associated with Reduced Attention in Healthy Young Women. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1216.

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