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  • 11/16/2011

Iron boost delays infant development

baby

A recent study conducted in Chile shows giving iron-fortified formula to infants with high levels of hemoglobin may lead to poor long-term developmental outcomes.

Hemoglobin is the iron-containing protein in red blood cells which carries and delivers oxygen to body organs and tissues. Low blood levels of the protein are considered as a sign of some health conditions such as blood loss, anemia and iron deficiency.

A new study showed that ten-year developmental test scores were lower for 6-month-old children with high hemoglobin levels if they received iron-fortified formula.

During the trial led by Betsy Lozoff of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 473 Chilean infants were randomly assigned to receive iron-fortified or low-iron formula.

After 10 years, children who received additional iron and already had high levels in their blood had lower scores on seven tests of developmental abilities.

Lower spatial memory and visual-motor coordination rates were, however, high enough to be considered significant.

“Iron is an essential nutrient of which both too little and too much are problematic,”‌ said Lozoff and her colleagues. “If unneeded iron were absorbed, the brain might be vulnerable to adverse effects.”‌

Most infants didn't show any developmental harm as a result of fortified formula, but children whose hemoglobin levels were low at the beginning of the study did better in the long run after receiving fortified formula.

Iron content in formula is routinely boosted in many parts of the world to avoid anemia and similar diseases.

The new findings suggest that universal iron supplements may need to be reconsidered, wrote researchers in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Scientists highlighted that further investigations are needed to support and define their early findings before any new measurement is taken about iron supplements or prescription strategies for babies.

“No change in practice should result from a single study,”‌ researchers noted. Still, “the optimal level of iron in infant formula warrants further study.”‌

Source: presstv.ir

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