A patient with severe iron-deficiency anemia and memory disturbance

Intern Med. 1992 Nov;31(11):1306-9. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.31.1306.


A 56-year-old woman presented with severe iron-deficiency anemia and memory disturbance. She had been in a state of severe iron deficiency for many years due to an unbalanced diet. Aerobic exercise test revealed an abnormal elevation of lactate and pyruvate reflecting mitochondrial dysfunction. After iron replacement therapy, WAIS verbal IQ score improved from 63 to 83, and levels of lactate and pyruvate on aerobic exercise test were normalized. We raise the possibility that severe and long-term iron deficiency anemia may cause memory disturbance due to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hypochromic / complications*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / drug therapy
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / psychology*
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests
  • Pyruvates / blood
  • Pyruvic Acid


  • Lactates
  • Pyruvates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Iron