Iron Deficiency in Children With
Eric Konofal, MD, PhD; Michel Lecendreux,
MD; Isabelle Arnulf, MD, PhD;
Marie-Christine Mouren, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:1113-1115.
Background Iron deficiency causes abnormal
dopaminergic neurotransmission and may contribute to the
physiopathology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity
Objective To evaluate iron deficiency in children
with ADHD vs iron deficiency in an age- and sex-matched
Design Controlled group comparison study.
Setting Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Department in European Pediatric Hospital, Paris,
Patients Fifty-three children with ADHD aged 4 to 14
years (mean ± SD, 9.2 ± 2.2
years) and 27 controls (mean ± SD,
9.5 ± 2.8 years).
Main Outcome Measures Serum ferritin levels
evaluating iron stores and Conners’ Parent Rating Scale
scores measuring severity of ADHD symptoms have been
Results The mean serum ferritin levels were lower in
the children with ADHD (mean ± SD,
23 ± 13 ng/mL) than in the controls
(mean ± SD, 44 ± 22 ng/mL;
P < .001). Serum ferritin levels were
abnormal (<30 ng/mL) in 84% of children with ADHD and
18% of controls (P < .001). In
addition, low serum ferritin levels were correlated with
more severe general ADHD symptoms measured with Conners’
Parent Rating Scale (Pearson correlation coefficient,
r = –0.34; P < .02)
and greater cognitive deficits (r = –0.38;
P < .01).
Conclusions These results suggest that low iron
stores contribute to ADHD and that ADHD children may
benefit from iron supplementation.
Affiliations: Service de Psychopathologie de l’Enfant et de
l’Adolescent, Hôpital Robert Debré (Drs Konofal, Lecendreux, and
Mouren), and Fédération des Pathologies du Sommeil Hôpital Pitié
Salpêtrière, Assistance Publique, Hôpitaux de Paris (Drs Konofal and
Arnulf), Paris, France.
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Serum Ferritin in Children with ADHD