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Low iron in womb may impair brain development in infants

Category: Anemia and RBC disorders

Low blood iron may delay the development of the auditory nervous system in preemies, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"We are concerned by these findings because of its potential implications for language development," said Dr Sanjiv Amin, associate professor of Pediatrics at the university and lead researcher.

Iron plays a significant role in brain development in the womb, and the researchers evaluated 80 infants over 18 months, giving them blood tests for iron levels and then measuring the maturity of the brain's auditory system. They found that the brains of infants with low iron levels in their cord blood had slower maturation of the auditory system. This delay may affect a baby's ability to process sound, which could then lead to problems with language development in early childhood.

"More study is needed to fully understand what this delay in maturation means," Amin said. "This finding at least underscores an already understood need to monitor iron levels in pregnant women."

According to the study authors, as many as 30 percent of pregnant women of lower socio-economic status are iron-deficient. The condition can lead to anemia in pregnant women, which can cause a host of problems with the pregnancy.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19166135-ADNFCR

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