Nutritional Deficiencies and Spatial Memory Function

  • Sayali C. Ranade


Nutritional deficiencies affect development as well as maintenance of the central nervous system. Several functions of the brain are affected following malnutritional insults. Spatial memory function, an important function of the brain, is also compromised as a result of nutritional deficiencies. The type of nutritional deficiency, severity, and timing of exposure are some of the important factors that affect the outcome of spatial memory function. Different temporal domains of spatial memory viz. reference memory or working memory can also be differentially affected either by types of deficiency or by timing of exposure. Some important nutritional deficiencies that significantly affect spatial memory function include protein deficiency, iron deficiency, zinc deficiency, or even significantly reduced food intake. Like any other brain function, effects of early age malnutritional exposure on spatial memory function are long lasting and severe. The adult brain is also sensitive to nutritional deficiencies in terms of its spatial memory function. Effect of nutritional deficiencies on the aging brain with respect to spatial memory function is a very important and unique area of study. The significant yet differential role of nutritional deficiencies in spatial memory function is confirmed. However, in most of these studies this role is purely a correlation. Therefore, more studies are needed in order to establish a causal link between nutritional deficiencies and spatial memory dysfunction. In addition, rehabilitation studies have yielded partial success in terms of restoration of functional impairments induced by malnutritional insults. So more and better interventional strategies are required to be designed and implemented.


Iron Deficiency Dentate Gyrus Spatial Memory Spatial Learning Morris Water Maze 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Central Nervous System


Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids


Docosahexanoic Acid


Arachidonic Acid


Essential Fatty Acid


Deoxyribonucleic Acid


Ribonucleic Acid


Chronic Energy Deficiency


Body Mass Index


Protein Energy Malnutrition


Iron Deficiency


Radial Arm Maze


Protein Deficiency


Cornu Ammonis


Intra Uterine Growth Retardation


Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor


Dimetallic Transporter 1


Mini Mental State Examination


Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised


Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised


Event Related Potentials


Retinoic Acid



I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Pierre Gressens and Dr. Shyamala Mani for critically reviewing earlier versions of this manuscript. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable suggestions and comments from my colleagues Niranjan Kambi, Parthiv Haldipur, and Shashank Tandon. I express my gratitude to Alok Gupta, Chinmoyee Maharana, and Leslee Lazar for the images.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Brain Research CentreManesarIndia

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