Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2002
Publication Date: March 14, 2003
Citation: Penland, J.G., Lukaski, H.C., Gray, J.S. 2003. Zinc fortification and cognitive and psychosocial function in young adolescents [abstract]. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. 17:A1087. Technical Abstract: Previous studies have related zinc nutrition to motor, cognitive and psychosocial function in very young children and adults, but there have been no studies of older children. Therefore, we investigated the effects of zinc fortification on these functions in young adolescents. Seventh graders (65 girls and 47 boys) consumed 4 oz fruit juice containing 0, 10 or 20 mg zinc (as gluconate) each school day for 10 weeks. Juice was administered in a double blind manner. Before and after treatment, children were administered a battery of psychomotor (manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination) and cognitive (attention, perception, memory and reasoning) tasks, and children, parents and teachers completed questionnaires to evaluate psychosocial function. Body composition and blood indices of zinc and other essential minerals were also determined before and after treatment. Baseline plasma zinc was inconsistently but significantly (p<0.05) related to several measures of attention in girls and to perception and reasoning in boys. Compared to placebo, 20 mg zinc fortification improved memory overall (girls: 11% vs 6%, p<0.005; boys: 11% vs 8%, p<0.03) and short-term memory (girls: 13% vs 7%, p<0.0003; boys: 11% vs 4%, p<0.02) in particular. Initial analyses found no effects of treatment on psychosocial function. Findings underscore the need to determine the functional correlates of zinc nutrition in older children.