Iron deficiency is a primary cause of lost development potential in children worldwide. But in places such as sub-Saharan Africa, where infection and iron deficiency coexist in kids, iron supplements are often withheld due to fears of worsening infectious disease.
That’s why Sarah Cusick, Ph.D. (left), from the U’s Division of Global Pediatrics, and Anne Frosch, M.D., M.P.H. (right), from the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, are working to determine how iron supplements impact iron status and infection risk in kids with HIV.
This year, they’ll launch a trial testing iron supplements in 200 anemic Ugandan children aged 6 months to just under 5 years who are infected with HIV.
Ultimately, Cusick and Frosch hope to identify which interventions best control infection while providing sufficient iron to protect the developing brain. Their work could also inform the design of a longer-term study measuring outcomes in childhood cognitive and behavioral development.
“Without Masonic support, these important first steps in ensuring optimal brain development in millions of children with iron deficiency and HIV would not be possible.” — Sarah Cusick, Ph.D.