Iron states and cognitive abilities in young adults: neuropsychological and neurophysiological assessment

  • Eman Khedr
  • Sherifa A. HamedEmail author
  • Esam Elbeih
  • Hala El-Shereef
  • Yousreyia Ahmad
  • Safaa Ahmed


Many investigators found that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) had a great influence on cognitive functions in infants and children. However, studies of such topic in adults are few and controversial. We prospectively assessed the possible influence of IDA and iron supplementation (for 3 months) on cognitive function and intelligence of 28 young adults with IDA. We used group of hematological, cognitive, neurophysiological tests for assessment including: mini-mental state examination (MMSE), Wechsler memory scale-revised (WMS-R), Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised (WAIS-R), event-related potentials (ERPs), and electroencephalography (EEG). Compared to controls, patients demonstrated lower scores of different cognitive tests (MMSE, WMS-R, and WAIS-R), which showed significant improvement after treatment. Prolongation of ERPs latencies (N200 and P300) and reduction in their amplitudes (P200 and P300) were identified with significant increase in amplitude occurred after treatment. EEG abnormalities were observed in 55% of patients which showed improvement in 35% after treatment. Positive correlation was identified before and after treatment between hemoglobin levels and MMSE (P = 0.01, 0.05), total verbal (P = 0.04) and performance (P = 0.05, 0.04) IQ scores. Negative correlation was identified between before and after treatment between P300 latency and total IQ of WAIS-R (P = 0.03, 0.008) and hemoglobin level (P = 0.4, 0.01). Positive correlation was found before and after treatment between P300 amplitude and total IQ (P = 0.028, 0.01) and serum iron (P = 0.01, 0.001). In conclusion, IDA is a significant factor in cognitive performance in adult population, which can be partially reversed by treatment.


iron deficiency anemia cognition psychometric tests event related potentials EEG 



Iron deficiency anemia


Iron deficiency




Total iron binding capacity


Mini-mental state examination


Wechsler Memory Scale


Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised


Event-related potentials




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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eman Khedr
    • 1
  • Sherifa A. Hamed
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Esam Elbeih
    • 2
  • Hala El-Shereef
    • 2
  • Yousreyia Ahmad
    • 2
  • Safaa Ahmed
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurology and PsychiatryAssiut University HospitalAssiutEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineAssiut University HospitalAssiutEgypt
  3. 3.Children’s National Medical CenterResearch Center For Genetic MedicineWashingtonUSA

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