Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Europhysiology 2018 (London, UK) (2018) Proc Physiol Soc 41, PCB310

Poster Communications

Association between iron depletion and cognitive development in Santal children of Purulia Distrcit, West Bengal, India



The impairment of children's cognitive development has been found to be closely associated with the iron deficiency. Recently, poor cognitive development, poor nutritional status and a positive association between these two have been evaluated in Santal children. Deficiency of iron in their diet was also reported in recent past. The association between cognitive development and iron status has not been identified in Santal tribal population. It is pertinent to investigate this association as it may provide a valuable contribution in the field of cognitive research. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to characterize a relationship between iron status and cognitive development in Santal children of Purulia district of India. The present study was conducted on 170 (90 boys and 80 girls) school children aged 5-12 years from Balarampur and Bagmundi areas of the Purulia district. Some biochemical parameters such as hemoglobin concentration, serum iron, serum ferritin, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), serum transferrin, and transferrin saturation were measured. Stages of iron depletion have also been measured in surveyed children. Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM) was applied for measuring the general intelligence. The protocol and procedures employed were in accordance with the human ethical guidelines of the Institutional Human Ethical Committee, Department of Physiology, University of Calcutta (Ref. No. IHEC/TKG/P07/11 dated 13.07.2011). The Hb concentration (p<0.05), serum iron (p<0.01), serum ferritin (p<0.05), transferrin saturation (p<0.05) levels of both boys and girls having RCPM scores below 5th percentile value were significantly lower than that of RCPM scores above 5th percentile value of standard. The Hb concentration, serum iron, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation levels of ‘intellectually deficit' group (for both boys and girls) and ‘below average' group (only in girls) were significantly lower (p<0.05) than that of ‘above average' group of IQ level. Pearson's correlation study indicated that all the iron status parameters were found to be significantly correlated (p<0.05) to RCPM scores. The present study suggests that the iron status of surveyed children is linked with their cognitive development. Vulnerable iron status may be one of the causes of the impairment of the cognitive functions in Santal children. Cognitive development was found to be affected more in girls than boys.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements