atomic no. 26, atomic wt. 55.85, metal, row 5, col. 7B, val. 2,3.

{Merck Index - © 1952 by Merck & Co., Inc.}

Iron. Fe; at. wt. 55.85; at. no. 26; valence 2,3.

Silvery white or gray, hard, ductile, malleable, somewhat magnetic metal. Occurs as ingots, powder, wire, sheets, etc. Takes a bright polish; can be rolled, hammered, bent, particularly when red hot. Stable in dry air but readily oxidizes in moist air, forming "rust" (chiefly iron oxide, hydrated). In powder form it is black to gray and decomposes H20 at 100°. Commercial iron usually contains some C, P, Si, S and Mn. d. pure 7.86; cast 7.76; wrought 7.25–7.78; steel 7.6–7.78. m. pure 1535°; cast 1000–1300°; wrought 1500°; steel 1300°. b. 3000°. Readily dissolved by dil. mineral acids and attacked or dissolved by organic acids; not appreciably attacked by cold concentr. H2SO4 or HNO3, but is attacked by the hot acids.

{Mineral Deficiencies in Plants}

Iron is closely concerned with chlorophyll formation but is not a constituent of it. Its role appears in connection to be that of a catalyst. As a result of his function of iron, chlorosis is invariable an outstanding symptom when the element is deficient. Iron may also act as a catalyst, in the role of an oxygen carrier in respiration.

A point of great importance in connection with iron is its relative immobility in plant tissues. Its mobility seems to be affected by several factors, such as the presence of manganese, potassium deficiency and high light intensity. There is evidence that the amount of chlorophyll is related to "active" (i.e. readily soluble) iron in plants.

It will thus be seen that so-called iron deficiency in the plant may in fact usually mean iron immobility. Lack of mobility may also account for the fact that iron deficiency is first shown in the younger tissues.

Study links iron deficiency, especially in girls, to teens' low math scores

Health roundup — Star Tribune — June 5, 2001 — From News Services

New research linking even mild iron deficiency with low test scores could help explain why teenage girls tend to do worse than boys in math.

The study found that compared with children with normal iron levels, iron-deficient youngsters were more than twice as likely to score below average on a standardized math test. The increased risk was found even in children who were iron deficient but hadn't developed anemia.

The difference in performance was most striking adolescent girls, who also had the highest prevalence of iron deficiency, said the study lead by Dr. Jill Halterman of the University of Rochester. It published in the June issue the journal Pediatrics.

"Past studies have shown a superiority of females in math achievement during elementary and middle school years and a reversal of this of this trend with male superiority ... in high school and college years," the researchers said. "This study suggests that iron deficiency may contribute to this gender discrepancy."

Iron deficiency, sometimes because of blood loss or low-iron diets, is the most common cause of anemia, a condition which the blood can't provide adequate oxygen supplies to body tissues. Adolescent girl are especially prone to iron deficiency because of menstruation.

Previous research has linked iron-deficiency anemia with developmental test scores in young children, but there is less information on older children and on those who were iron deficient but not anemic.

The study involved nationally representative data on 5,398 children ages 6 to 16 who participated in a survey from 1988 to 1994.

Iron deficiency was found in 3 percent of the children over­all, representing 1.2 million school-age children. It occurred in 8.7 percent of the girls ages 12 to 16, including 7 percent without anemia.

Average math scores for iron-deficient children with or without anemia were about six points lower than those with normal iron levels. Among adolescent girls, the difference in scores was more than eight points.

Anemia, which can cause fatigue, can be diagnosed with a blood test. But children aren't routinely screened for less severe iron deficiencies.

Iron not the cure for all anemias

Winona Daily News — June 5, 2001 — Dr. Paul Donohue — Health

Dear Dr. Donohue:   My doctor told me I was anemic. He has not yet treated me. He says he has to do some more tests.   Why?   Isn't iron the standard anemia treatment? – C.B.

ANSWER:   Fixed in the public's mind is the idea all anemia results from iron deficiency. Perhaps this comes from the advertising blitz focused on "iron-poor" blood.

An anemia is a low number of red blood cells. People with anemia, regardless of cause, feel dragged out because the diminished population of blood cells cannot supply the body with the oxygen it needs. Red blood cells are trucks that transport oxygen from lungs to all body organs tissues.

Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia. If that is the case, the next step is finding the reason for the iron deficiency. Bleeding is often the cause of iron-deficiency anemia. Blood is the largest depository for iron. The bleeding can be internal and not obvious to the patient.

However, there are other reasons why anemias develop.

One is a deficiency of vitamin B-12. The resulting anemia is called pernicious anemia.

Another anemia cause is bone marrow failure. The bone marrow is the body's factory for production of blood cells. Should defective marrow production be the reason why there are too few red blood cells, then a formidable task faces the doctor of ferreting out the many causes of marrow failure. Often this entails aspirating marrow with a needle and syringe for microscopic examination.

Iron is far from the only anemia treatment, and iron deficiency is far from the only cause of anemia.

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