Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A better screening test for infant iron deficiency?

24.08.2005


Earlier detection and treatment could prevent impaired mental development



A unique blood test detects iron deficiency in infants earlier and more accurately than the commonly used hemoglobin screening test, according to a study in the August 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Iron deficiency is estimated to affect nearly 10 percent of American children one to two years of age. Early detection and treatment are critical because iron deficiency can impair infant mental development, possibly permanently, even before it progresses to anemia (clinically identified as a low hemoglobin level).


The study, done at Children’s Hospital Boston, is the first to compare the test, called CHr, with the standard hemoglobin test as a screen for iron deficiency in infants. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing, oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells; the CHr test measures the hemoglobin content of reticulocytes, or immature red blood cells, whereas the standard hemoglobin test is based on the entire population of red blood cells. Because reticulocytes are present in the bloodstream for only 24 to 48 hours, as compared with several months for mature red blood cells, measuring the reticulocyte hemoglobin content (i.e., CHr) provides a more timely indication of iron status, the investigators say.

In this study, 200 healthy infants 9 to 12 months of age underwent both tests, as well as a transferrin saturation test, which is the "gold standard" test for iron deficiency but is impractical for routine screening. Using the optimal CHr cutoff value (established as 27.5 picograms), CHr correctly identified 83 percent of the iron-deficient infants, compared with only 26 percent identified by the current screening standard (a hemoglobin level less than 11 grams/deciliter).

"Our findings are important because, while iron deficiency can be readily treated, practitioners haven’t had a simple, reliable and practical screening test to detect it early enough. Now they might," said Henry Bernstein, DO, Associate Chief, General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Boston and the principal investigator of the study. "This study shows that CHr can be used to detect iron deficiency earlier and more accurately than standard hemoglobin screening. Once confirmed in larger, multicenter studies, these findings could change our preferred screening practices for the early detection of iron deficiency." He added that the CHr test is simple, requires no extra tubes of blood to be drawn and involves no additional cost.

"There is mounting evidence that iron deficiency in infants can cause permanent neurocognitive deficits, even before it has progressed to the point of causing anemia," said lead investigator Christina Ullrich, MD, a fellow in pediatric hematology and oncology at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. "The ability of the CHr test to identify more infants, at an earlier stage of iron deficiency, makes it a better choice for screening than the current hemoglobin test."

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Infants and toddlers are especially susceptible because of their rapid growth, increased demands for iron, and variable dietary intake. The deficiency progresses in three stages: 1) depletion of the body’s iron stores; 2) deficiency, in which hemoglobin synthesis is impaired, resulting in a fall in CHr; and 3) anemia, in which red-blood-cell hemoglobin is below normal for a person’s age. Iron deficiency is usually readily treated with dietary iron supplementation.

Under current guidelines, children are first screened with the hemoglobin test at nine to 12 months of age. However, iron deficiency can exist for some time before causing anemia. There are other tests that can diagnose iron deficiency in the absence of anemia, but they are impractical for routine clinical screening. Thus, current screening practices miss iron deficiency in non-anemic infants in whom adverse consequences may be developing.

Rachel Pugh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.childrens.harvard.edu
http://www.childrenshospital.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>