Iron and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: What is the empirical evidence so far? A systematic review of the literature

Samuele Cortese, Marco Angriman, Michel Lecendreux, Eric Konofal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The authors systematically reviewed evidence on iron status, as well as studies of iron supplementation, in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). PubMed, Ovid, EMBASE and Web of Knowledge were searched on 4 July 2012. Quantitative appraisal of trials was performed using Jadad's score. Most (n = 20) of the retrieved studies assessed an index of peripheral iron status (i.e., serum ferritin), with overall mixed results - that is, both significant and nonsignificant association between ADHD symptoms and serum ferritin levels. One MRI study reported significantly lower indices of thalamic iron in ADHD versus comparison subjects. Two trials, an open-label and a pilot randomized placebo-controlled study with high Jaded score (4), showed improvement in some but not all measures of ADHD symptoms. Three studies showed that children with ADHD plus sleep disorders, in particular restless legs syndrome, are at risk of iron deficiency. Finally, two studies suggested that iron deficiency might decrease the effectiveness of psychostimulant treatment. The authors discussed how the field could move from initial research mainly focused on serum ferritin towards a more comprehensive and translational investigation of iron in ADHD, with the potential to inform clinical practice in terms of screening and treating iron deficiency in individuals with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1240
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • brain
  • ferritin
  • iron
  • MRI
  • transferrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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