Objective: Iron is an important oligoelement participating in multiple metabolic processes, including the synthesis of catecholamines, and its deficiency (ID) throughout development is particularly insidious on brain maturation and the emergence of cognitive functions during school age. A working memory (WM) study in 8-10-year-old ID children is presented. It is hypothesized that an impairment in WM exists in ID school-age children and a substantial restoration of this mental ability should occur after iron supplementation. Methods: Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during the completion of a Sternberg-type task in control, ID and ID-iron supplemented children. Results: ID children showed less correct answers and diminished ERP amplitude in frontal, central, parietal and temporal regions compared to control children. After iron supplementation and normalizing bodily iron stores, behavioral and ERP differences disappeared between ID and control children. Conclusions: Considering that WM is fundamentally related to attention ability, the results presented here confirm and reinforce previous observations: ID severely diminishes attention [Otero GA, Pliego-Rivero FB, Contreras G, Ricardo J, Fernandez T. Iron supplementation brings up a lacking P300 in iron deficient children. Clin Neurophysiol 2004;115:2259-66] and WM while iron supplementation substantially restores the cognitive capabilities tested. Significance: This is one of very few reports using ERP showing a diminished WM capability in ID school-age children. © 2008 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology.
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