August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Perceptual and cognitive performance in Indian female tea-pluckers are improved with iron-fortified salt
Author Affiliations
  • Julie Hammons
    Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University
  • Michael Wenger
    Psychology, The University of Oklahoma
  • Laura Murray-Kolb
    Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Sudha Venkatramanan
    Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University
  • Jere Haas
    Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 470. doi:
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      Julie Hammons, Michael Wenger, Laura Murray-Kolb, Sudha Venkatramanan, Jere Haas; Perceptual and cognitive performance in Indian female tea-pluckers are improved with iron-fortified salt. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):470.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Iron deficiency (ID) is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency in the world, and differentially affects women of reproductive age. Both human and animal studies have documented substantial deficits in individual perceptual and cognitive functioning with ID and improvements with iron repletion. Previous work is limited by a lack of specificity for perceptual and cognitive assessment. The present study examines the effects of ID and repletion in 248 female tea-pickers of reproductive age (18-55 y) in West Bengal, India. Subjects were part of a 10-month double-blind, randomized controlled intervention with salt double-fortified with iodine and iron (DFS) and iodized salt (control). Six measures of perceptual and cognitive performance---simple reaction time, 2 measures of visual detection, 2 measures of attention, and recognition memory---were selected for their ability to selectively examine perceptual and cognitive functioning relative to iron status and to job performance. We previously reported (VSS ’11) substantial improvements in perceptual and cognitive performance in women receiving DFS. We here present further analyses linking improvements in specific aspects of perceptual and cognitive performance to positive changes in iron status, baseline iron status, and amount of DFS consumed. The results include the effects of iron status on individual perceptual and cognitive functioning, and of body iron repletion on the resolution of perceptual and cognitive deficits caused by ID. Additionally, we examine the relationship between amount of iron consumed and perceptual and cognitive functioning, and the dependence of this relationship on baseline iron status. This work has important implications for dietary iron and therapy recommendations, and suggests that perceptual and cognitive functioning must be considered when determining the health and economic losses due to ID. Support: Mathile Institute, Micronutrient Initiative, and NSF.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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