Brain and Behavior in Early Iron Deficiency

*University of Minnesota, Twin Cites- Center for Neurobehavioral Development
*Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
*Wayne State University, Detroit MI
*Boston Children's Hospital- Division of Developmental Medicine, Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience

This multi-site program-project is examining the developmental effects of early iron deficiency in human infants, monkeys, and rodents, as well as the long-term consequences of iron deprivation in monkeys and rodents. While Dr. Georgieff continues to study the effects of iron deficiency in rodents, Dr. Nelson and Ms. Westerlund are working with the infant study site that is based at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Infants are identified at 9-months of age as iron deficient with anemia, iron deficient without anemia, or nonanemic controls. The assessment at 9-months include visual evoked potentials, visual acuity, spatial working memory, motor development, spontaneous motor activity, and recognition memory (visual paired comparison and ERPs). All infants are treated with a daily dose of iron for 3 months. There is then a re-evaluation of brain and behavior measures at 12-months. This study will help determine whether iron deficiency with or without anemia alters specific central nervous system functions, as well as help identify alterations that respond to iron therapy and ones that do not.