Total views : 305

Effects of Anemia on Cognitive Function


  • Department of Pharmacology, Krupanidhi College of Pharmacy, #12/1, Chikkabellandur, Carmelaram Post, Varthur Hobli, Bangalore - 560035, KA, India


Purpose: To establish the relation between Anemia and cognitive function.

Approach: Published articles from Pubmed and other Internet sources were used to establish the relation between anemia and cognition.

Finding: There are various factors like RBC, hemoglobin and iron content which affects cognition indirectly. Whereas some factors such as defect in gene, directly affects the cognition.

Conclusion: Anemia not only affects the physical health, but also affects the mental health like cognition. RBC, hemoglobin and iron contents affect the cognitive function while due to defect in gene, causes anemia, which also affects cognitive functions. Cognition of infant is also affected by maternal anemia.


Anemia, Cognitive Function, RBC, Hemoglobin.

Full Text:

 |  (PDF views: 127)


  • Janz TG, Johnson RL. Anemia in the emergency department: evaluation and treatment. Emergency medicine practice.2013;15(11):1–15.
  • Reid R, Burt A, Harrison D, David J, Levison DA, MacSween RN. Muir's textbook ofpathalogy. 14th edition. United Kingdom: Hodder Education;2008.
  • Weiss G, Goodnough LT. Anemia of chronic disease. The NewEngland of Journal Medicine. 2005; 352(10):1011-1022.
  • Criswell KA, Sulkanen AP, Hochbaum AF, Bleavins M R . Effects of phenylhydrazine or phlebotomy on peripheral blood, bone marrow and erythropoietin in Wistar rats Journal of Applied Toxicology. 2000;20(1):25-34.
  • Charles M, Modibo D, Humphrey M, Alutu M, Erasto M, Seif S, Frank M, Jaffu C. Hematoprotective property of EremomastaxSpeciosa on experimentally induced anemic Wistar rats. Annals of Biological Research.2010;1(2):221-229.
  • Vos T, Flaxman AD, Naghavi M, Lozano R, Michaud C, Ezzati M, Shibuya K, Salomon JA. A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet. 2012;380(9859):2095-128.
  • SpivakJL.Polycythemia Vera: myths, mechanisms, and management. Blood 2002;100(13):4272-90.
  • EngelfrietCP, Overbeeke MA, von dem Borne AE, Perrotta PL, Snyder EL. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia,Non-infectious complications of transfusion therapy. Blood Review 2001;15(2): 69-83.
  • Symptoms and causes - Anemia - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. 2017 [cited 10 November 2016]. Available from: conditions/anemia/symptomscauses/ dxc-20183157.
  • Cognition - definition of cognition in English | Oxford Dictionaries [Internet]. Oxford Dictionaries | English. 2017 [cited 24 October 2016]. Available from:
  • Michelon D. What are Cognitive Abilities and Skills, and How to Boost Them? [Internet]. SharpBrains. 2017 [cited 5 January 2017]. Available from:
  • Dutta J. What are the Factors Affecting Cognitive Development of Children? [Internet]. 2017 [cited 16 January 2017]. Available from:
  • McLeod S. Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory | Simply Psychology [Internet]. 2017 [cited 10 January 2017]. Available from:
  • Hasher L, Zacks RT. working memory comprehension and aging.International journal of behavioral development. 1998;22(4):193-225.
  • Janowsky JS. Testosterone and cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research. 2006;10(2):77-82.
  • Sherwin BB. Estrogen and cognitive function in women.endocrine review.2003; 24(2):133-151.
  • Zaidi ZF. Gender difference in human brain. The open anatomy journal.2010; 24(2):37-55.1
  • Anett N, Jianghong Li, Wendy H .The role of nutrition in children's neurocognitive development, from pregnancy through childhood. Frontier in HYPER LINK ""HumHYPERLINK " pmc/articles/ PMC3607807/"anHYPERLINK ""Neuro science. 2013; 7: 97.
  • Pollitt E. Iron deficiency and cognitive function.Annual Review of Nutrition. 1993;13: 521–537.
  • Polich J. P300 in the evaluation of aging and dementia. Electroencephalography and clinical neurophysiology Supplement.Journal of geriatric psychiatry and neurology. 1991;42:304–323.
  • Harris WS, Thomas RM. Biological variability of blood omega-3 biomarkers. Clinical Biochemistry.Elsevier. 2010;43(3):338–340.
  • Arab L. Biomarkers of fat and fatty acid intake. The journal of nutrition.2003;133(3):925S–932S.
  • Brenna JT. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Current opinionin clinical nutrition and metabolic Care. 2002;5(2):127–132.
  • Heude B, Ducimetiere P, Berr C.Cognitive decline and fatty acid composition of erythrocyte membranes: the EVA Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003;77(4):803–808.
  • Muskiet FA, Fokkema MR, Schaafsma A, Boersma ER, Crawford MA. Lessons from DHA status regulation, our ancient diet, epidemiology and randomized controlled trials. The journal of Nutrition. 2004;134(1):183–186.
  • Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimer's and Dementia. The journal of the Alzheimer's association. 2010;6(6):456–464.
  • Denny SD, Kuchibhatla MN, Cohen HJ. Impact of anemia on mortality, cognition, and function in community-dwelling elderly.The American journal of medicine. 2006;119(4):327–334.
  • Chaves PH, Carlson MC, Ferrucci L, Guralnik JM, Serba R, Fried LP. Association between mild anemia and executive function impairment in communitydwelling older women: the Women's Health and Aging Study II. Journal of the American Geriatric Society.2006;54(9):1429–1435.
  • Michael WP. Bone Marrow Failure Disease and the Brain. Centre for Brain Health Neurologic Institute. http://w w default/files/AAMDS%20and% 20brain_MWP_2015_rev.pdf 2015
  • Ballin A, Berar M, Rubinstein U. Iron state in the female adolescent. The American Journal of Diseases of Children. 1992;146(7):803–805.
  • Groner N A, Holtzman N A, Charney E, Mellits D. A randomized trial of oral iron on tests of short-term memory and attention span in young pregnant women. Journal of Adolescent Health Care.1986;7(1):44–48.
  • Walter T. Impact of iron deficiency on cognition in infancy and childhood. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1993;47(5):307-316.
  • Grantham M S, Ani C. A review of studies on the effect of iron deficiency on cognitive development in children. Journal of Nutrition.2001;131(2S2):649–666.
  • Deungria M. Perinatal iron deficiency decreases cytochrome c oxidase (CytOx) activity in selected regions of neonatal rat brain. Pediatric Research. 2000;48(2):169–176.
  • Lozoff B, Georgieff M K. Iron deficiency and brain development. Seminar in Pediatric Neurology. 2006;13(3):158–165.
  • Georgieff M K. Nutrition and the developing brain: nutrient priorities and measurement. The American journal of clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(2):614S–620S.
  • Rioux FM., Bélanger PJ, Leblanc C P, Vigneau F. Relationship between maternal DHA and iron status and infants' cognitive performance. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research.2016;16 : 72-76.
  • Jorgenson LA, Wobken JD, Georgieff MK. Perinatal iron deficiency alters apical dendritic growth in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Dev. Neurosci. 2003;25(6): 412–420.
  • Nagalakshmi P, Santhosh H, Shobha C. A study of Correlation Between Hemoglobin Level and Cognitive Function in Children from Rural Area Staying in Residential School. Indian JounalPhysiology Pharmacology 2015;59(3):308–312.
  • Walden H, Deans A J. "The Fanconi Anemia DNA Repair Pathway: Structural and Functional Insights into a Complex Disorder". AnnualHYPERLINK " on=edit&redlink=1" RevHYPERLINK " ndex.php?title=Ann._Rev._Biophysics&action=edit&redlink=1"iew HYPER LINK ""of HYPERLINK " on=edit&redlink=1"Biophysics. 2014;43(1):257–278.
  • Sumpter R, Sirasanagandla S, Fernandez A, Dong X, Franco L, Zhongju Z et al. Fanconi Anemia Proteins Function in Mitophagy and Immunity. 2016;165(4):867-881.
  • David C Y, Dean RT, Michael FM, David J H, Basil TD, Alon G et al.Hemolytic anemia and severe rhabdomyolysis caused by compound heterozygous mutations of the gene for erythrocyte/muscle isozyme of aldolase, ALDOA(Arg303X/Cys338Tyr)Blood. 2004;103(6):2401-2403.
  • Steen RG, Xiong X, Mulhern RK, Langston JW, Wang WC. Subtle brain abnormalities in children with sickle cell disease: relationship to blood hematocrit. Annals of Neurology. 1999;45(3):279–286.
  • Brown RT, Buchannan I, Doepke K. Cognitive and academic functioning in children with sickle cell disease. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. 1993;22:207–218.
  • Galanello R, Origa R. Beta-thalassemia. OrphanetJournal of Rare Diseases. 2010;5:11.
  • Cakaloz B, Cakaloz I, Polat A, Inan M, Oguzhanoglu NK. Psychopathology in thalassemia major. Pediatric International: official journal of the Japan pediatric society. 2009; 51(6):825-828.
  • Hajibeigi B, Azarkeyvan A, Alavian SM, Lankarani MM, Assari S. Anxiety and depression affects life and sleep quality in adults with beta-thalassemia. Indian JHematolBlood Transfus .2009;25(2):59-65.
  • Pakbaz Z, Treadwell M, Yamashita R, Quirolo K, Foote D, Quill L. Quality of life in patients with thalassemia intermedia compared to thalassemia major. Annals of New York Academy of Science 2005;1054:457-461.
  • Marsh JT, Brown WS, Wolcott D.rHuEPO treatment improves brain and cognitive function of anemic dialysis patients. Kidney International. Official Journal of The International Society Of Nephrology. 1991;39(1):155–163.
  • Cold F, Health E, Disease H, Management P, Conditions S, Problems S et al. Folic Acid for Good Health [Internet]. WebMD. 2017 [cited 2 November 2016]. Available from: 1.
  • Martha D, Angela W, Christian W, Durig J, Martina BP, Dragano N, Moebus S, Jöckel KH, Erbel R, Eisele L. Anemia and Mild Cognitive Impairment in the German General Population. Journal of Alzheimer's disease. 2016;49(4):1031-42.
  • Lozoff B, Klein NK, Nelson EC, McClish DK, Manuel M, Chacon ME. Behavior of infants with iron-deficiency anemia. Child Development. 1998; 69(1):24–36.
  • thebrain_7qI Wy W0G37iinqAWYbiTGA9lHpcEA1QLgBc7wWCl8h4/
  • Coel CL, Lubach GR, Schneider ML. Neuromotor and socio-emotiional behaviour in the young monkey are presaged by prenatal conditions. In: Lewis M. Ramsey D, editors, Stress and Soothing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; 1999. 19-38.
  • Golub MS, Hogrefe CE, Widaman KF, Capitanio JP, Iron deficiency anemia and affective response in rhesus monkey infants. Dev Psychobiol.2009;51(1):47-59.