Food and Behaviour Research

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Iron Status in Toddlerhood Predicts Sensitivity to Psychostimulants in Children

Turner CA, Xie D, Zimmerman BM, Calarge CA. (2010) J Atten Disord.   2010 Oct 26. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


Objective: Iron deficiency is associated with impaired dopaminergic signaling and externalizing behavior. The authors examine, whether iron stores in toddlerhood influence later response to psychostimulants.

Method: Youths participating in a study monitoring the long-term safety of risperidone were included in this analysis if they had received psychostimulant monotherapy for at least 3 weeks and had a complete blood count obtained before psychostimulant treatment. Sensitivity to psychostimulants was defined based on the weight-adjusted dose during the 1st year of treatment. Regression analysis examined whether the hematological tests based on the characteristics of red blood cells were associated with sensitivity to psychostimulants.

Results: A total of 29 participants (93% men; 76% Whites), primarily with ADHD (93%), comprised the current sample. The hematological tests were obtained, on average, 3 years before the initiation of psychostimulants monotherapy that occurred at 5.8 years of age and continued for a median of 0.85 years, at an average daily dose of 0.98 mg/kg (SD = 0.38) in methylphenidate equivalent. Compared with those who were poorly sensitive to psychostimulants, after adjusting for age, mean corpuscular volume was significantly higher in the highly and moderately psychostimulants sensitive groups.

Conclusions: If replicated, these findings suggest that more attention should be paid to optimizing body iron in early childhood.