Diabetic pregnancies are characterized by chronic metabolic insults, including iron deficiency, that place the developing brain at risk for memory impairment later in life. A behavioral recall paradigm coupled with electrophysiological measures was used to assess the longevity of these effects in 40 3-year-old children. When memory demands were high, recall was significantly impaired in the at-risk group and correlated with perinatal measures of iron. Electrophysiological results suggested both encoding and retrieval processes were compromised. These findings support the hypothesis that prenatal iron deficiency leads to alterations in neural development that have a lasting impact on memory ability.
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Correspondence should be addressed to Tracy Riggins, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail: email@example.com This research was conducted at the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota and was supported by grants from NIH to Charles A. Nelson (NS34458) and Michael K. Georgieff (HD29421), a grant from the NICHD to Patricia J. Bauer (HD28425), and a grant from the NIH National Center for Research Resources (RR00400).