Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- There’s new proof that iron supplements may help boost brain development and ward off behavioral problems in babies born at a low birth weight.
Science has shown for some time now that babies born extremely underweight need more of the nutrient for catch-up growth. Now, a news Swedish study shows iron supplements will also help babies born just shy of normal weight.
The research group looked at babies starting at six weeks old. Some were randomly assigned iron drops. Others had an iron free placebo.
After three years, there were no IQ differences between the two groups.
However, significantly more babies given placebo drops had behavioral problems, including problems managing emotional reactions, anxiety and depression, as well as sleep and attention problems. Almost 13 percent of the placebo group babies scored above the cutoff for clinical behavior problems, versus about three percent of kids who had taken iron drops.