May 23, 2013 | 05:47 PM (BD Time)
23 May, 2013 Thursday
Too much iron be a bad thing for babies
Reuters, New York :
In a new study from Chile, infants who already had high levels of hemoglobin proteins in their blood and were fed iron-fortified formula ended up with lower scores on tests of thinking and memory than those given low-iron formula.
Researchers wrote in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that most infants didn't show any developmental harm as a result of fortified formula. And those who started with low levels of hemoglobin, an iron-rich molecule in red blood cells, did better in the long run if they got the extra iron. Through the worse scores in some kids were "totally unexpected," study author Dr. Betsy Lozoff said, "It's a very small proportion of the children... I am very cautious about it." Iron deficiency is recognized as a global public health problem, and low iron can stunt brainpower in kids. "We know that iron is essential for brain development. The last thing I would want is for people not to give their babies iron," Lozoff, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told Reuters Health.
Recommendations call for babies in the U.S. to get an iron test during the first year of life to check for deficiencies. Based on the new findings, other nutrition experts said that if those levels are higher than normal, parents using formula might want to consider one that has some iron, but not too much. "In general parents think, 'Oh, fortification, that's good,'" said Chessa Lutter, regional advisor on food and nutrition for the Pan American Health Organization, part of the World Health Organization, who wasn't involved in the study. The WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, continued for two years or longer.
Still, "If I were to give formula, I would certainly want to know my baby's iron status," Lutter told Reuters Health.
The findings come from a study originally done in Santiago in 1991 through 1994. Researchers tested babies' hemoglobin levels at age six months and those who weren't anemic were randomly assigned to get either low-iron or high-iron formula until they were a year old.
The high-iron formula contained 12.7 milligrams of iron for every liter of formula-about the same amount that's in iron-fortified formula sold in the U.S. (Formula in Europe typically contains only about half that much iron.) Ten years later, Lozoff and her colleagues brought 473 of the original 835 infants back for a suite of thinking, coordination and memory tests.
On average, kids who were given extra iron as babies had slightly lower scores on the tests, including ones measuring hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning.
Art and Culture
Focus on Chittagong
Fashion & Beauty
Food and Drink
Law and Justice
New Nation Supplement
Editor: Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Adviser Editor: A.M. Mufazzal, Printed and Published by Mainul Hosein from the New Nation Printing Press, 1.R.K Mission Road, Dhaka-1203 Phones: New Nation PABX: 7122654, 7114514, 7122655, Fax: 880-2-7122650, 9512775 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com for advertisement, firstname.lastname@example.org