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Iron May Give Babies Behavioral Boost

Iron May Give Babies Behavioral Boost

Babies born with low birth weight may benefit from iron supplements given during the first few months of their life, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics (December 10).

The study, undertaken by Swedish doctors, demonstrated that babies given the iron supplement had similar rates of behavioral problems later in childhood as those born at normal birth weight. Meanwhile, a second group of low birth weight babies, given a placebo, had higher rates of behavioral problems later in childhood.

"These results not only suggest that the increased risk of behavioral problems in children with low birth weight may be partially prevented but also lend support to a causal relationship between preventive iron supplementation and improved neurobehavioral development in infants at risk for iron deficiency," wrote the researchers.

Low birth weight, defined as lower than 5.5 pounds, are known to be at risk for behavioral problems as well as iron deficiency, which itself has been previously linked to behavioral problems.

by RTT Staff Writer

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