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Doctors advice early anemia tests

An estimated 12 to 30% of young children are affected by iron deficiency anemia throughout the world. This is one of the common problems in childhood leading on to problems in simple developmental skills such as standing and walking. Eight-month-old infants with low levels of hemoglobin are significantly more likely to have deformities of the motor system, according to a study conducted by British scientists. Screening babies for iron deficiency with a simple blood test can prevent these problems, as they grow older. The Institute of Child Health at the University in Southwestern England has pioneered a research in this field. Dr Andrea Sheriff led the study. Sheriff and her colleagues examined blood samples taken from 1,141 children when they were 8, 12 and 18 months old. These were compared to the hemoglobin levels with the children's development when they were 18 months old. Children with levels of hemoglobin less than 95 grams per liter of blood scored six points lower on motor skill tests than babies with higher levels. Hemoglobin levels less than 90 were linked with a 12-points drop on motor skill tests. "In this study we have shown that developmental outcome at 18 months of age, particularly motor development, is associated with hemoglobin concentrations in children as young as eight months," said Dr. Sheriff.

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