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

  • Eman Khedr
  • Sherifa A. Hamed
  • Esam Elbeih
  • Hala El-Shereef
  • Yousreyia Ahmad
  • Safaa Ahmed
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

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.

Keywords

iron deficiency anemia cognition psychometric tests event related potentials EEG 

Abbreviations

IDA

Iron deficiency anemia

ID

Iron deficiency

HB

Hemoglobin

TIBC

Total iron binding capacity

MMSE

Mini-mental state examination

WMS-R

Wechsler Memory Scale

WAIS-R

Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised

ERPs

Event-related potentials

EEG

Electroencephalography

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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eman Khedr
    • 1
  • Sherifa A. Hamed
    • 1
    • 3
  • 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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