Zinc deficiency and school-age children’s memories


. Setianingsih(1*), Djaswadi Dasuki(2), Indria Laksmi Gamayanti(3)

(1) Muhammadiyah Health School (STIKES), Klaten,
(2) Graduate Program in Mother and Child Health-Reproductive Health, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta
(3) Medical Faculty of Universitas Gadjah Mada and Dr. Sardjito General Hospital, Clinical Psychologist, Yogyakarta
(*) Corresponding Author


Zinc deficiency is associated with cognitive and motor delay in children. Moreover, it is associated
with deficits in activity and attention in nutritional deficiency children. This study was conducted
to evaluate the correlation between zinc deficiency with memory of children. A cross sectional
study design was employed from June 1st to 30th, 2013 among school-age children in Klaten
District, Central Java who met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Sixty five eligible children were
assessed their health, socio-economic and nutritional status. Hemoglobin levels were measured
by the standart cyanoblue method. Plasma zinc levels were analyzed with flame atomic absorption
spectrophotometry (AAS). Short-term memory (STM) was measured using the instrument Wechsler
Intellegence Scale for Children (WISC0 subtest Digit Span Memory Test and long term memory
(LTM) was assessed using the recall of narrative. Independent t-test was used to compare the
STM or LTM between groups of each independent factors. Linear regression analysis was used
to determine the independent factors associated with the STM or LTM. The STM scores of the
children with zinc deficiency (6.1 ± 1.3) was significantly higher than those with normal zinc
level (10.7 ± 3.1) [p=0.0004; 95%CI= -6.98 – (-2.14)]. However, the LTM for both group of
the children were not significantly different (p=0.658; 95%CI= -3.16 – 2.01). A significant
correlations between zinc levels, hemoglobin level and socio-economic status with the STM scores
were observed (p<0.05), whereas nutritional status was not (p>0.05). In contrast, no significant
correlations between zinc levels, hemoglobin levels, socio-economic status, nutritional status and
the LTM scores was observed in the school age children (p>0.05). In conclusion, zinc deficiency is
associated with STM loss in the school age children, however it is not associated with LTM loss.
Moreover, hemoglobin level and socio-economic status are found to be independent factors for
STM loss, however they are not independent factors for LTM loss.


zinc deficiency - short-term memory - long term memory - school-age children - anemia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.19106/JMedScie004603201403

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Creative Commons License
Journal of the Medical Sciences (Berkala Ilmu Kedokteran) by  Universitas Gadjah Mada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jurnal.ugm.ac.id/bik/.