Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Psychiatry and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Association between psychiatric disorders and iron deficiency anemia among children and adolescents: a nationwide population-based study

Mu-Hong Chen1, Tung-Ping Su12, Ying-Sheue Chen1, Ju-Wei Hsu1, Kai-Lin Huang1, Wen-Han Chang1, Tzeng-Ji Chen34 and Ya-Mei Bai12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Department of Family Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:161  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-161

Published: 4 June 2013

Abstract

Background

A great deal of evidence has shown that iron is an important component in cognitive, sensorimotor, and social-emotional development and functioning, because the development of central nervous system processes is highly dependent on iron-containing enzymes and proteins. Deficiency of iron in early life may increase the risk of psychiatric morbidity.

Methods

Utilizing the National Health Insurance Database from 1996 to 2008, children and adolescents with a diagnosis of IDA were identified and compared with age and gender-matched controls (1:4) in an investigation of the increased risk of psychiatric disorders.

Results

A total of 2957 patients with IDA, with an increased risk of unipolar depressive disorder (OR = 2.34, 95% CI = 1.58 ~ 3.46), bipolar disorder (OR = 5.78, 95% CI = 2.23 ~ 15.05), anxiety disorder (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.49 ~ 3.16), autism spectrum disorder (OR = 3.08, 95% CI = 1.79 ~ 5.28), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.29 ~ 2.17), tic disorder (OR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.03 ~ 2.78), developmental delay (OR = 2.45, 95% CI = 2.00 ~ 3.00), and mental retardation (OR = 2.70, 95% CI = 2.00 ~ 3.65), were identified. A gender effect was noted, in that only female patients with IDA had an increased OR of bipolar disorder (OR = 5.56, 95% CI = 1.98 ~ 15.70) and tic disorder (OR = 2.95, 95% CI = 1.27 ~ 6.86).

Conclusion

Iron deficiency increased the risk of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and developmental disorders. Further study is required to clarify the mechanism in the association between IDA and psychiatric disorder.

Keywords:
Iron deficiency anemia; Psychiatric disorders; Comorbidity