Iodine intake and related cognitive function impairments in elementary schoolchildren

Bailote, H.B., Linhares, D., Carvalho, C., Prazeres, S., Rodrigues, A.S. & Garcia, P. (2022) Iodine intake and related cognitive function impairments in elementary schoolchildren.

Biology-Basel, 11, 1507. DOI:10.3390/biology11101507 (IF2022 4,2; Q1 Biology)
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  • Oct, 2022


Iodine deficiency, the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide, has been linked to poorer intellectual function in several studies. However, to our knowledge, no studies have been performed in moderate iodine-deficient schoolchildren using the complete form of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III; Portuguese version). The main purpose of this study was to ascertain whether moderate iodine deficiency would affect the cognitive function of schoolchildren (7–11 years old; 3rd and 4th grades). Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM; Portuguese version) were used for measuring the intelligence quotient (IQ) of the total population (n = 256; median UIC = 66.2 μg/L), and the WISC-III was used to study two selected subgroups: one moderately iodine-deficient (n = 30) and the other with adequate iodine intake (n = 30). WISC-III was shown to be the prime instrument for cognitive function assessment among moderate iodine-deficient schoolchildren; this subgroup had a Full-Scale IQ 15.13 points lower than the adequate iodine intake subgroup, with a magnitude effect of d = 0.7 (= 0.013). Significant differences were also registered in 6 of the 13 Verbal-Performance IQ subtests. Moderate iodine deficiency has a substantial impact on mental development and cognitive functioning of schoolchildren, with significant impairment in both Performance IQ and Verbal IQ spectrum, adversely impacting their educational performance.