Neuroimaging, nutrition, and iron-related genes

Neda Jahanshad, Priya Rajagopalan, Paul M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Several dietary factors and their genetic modifiers play a role in neurological disease and affect the human brain. The structural and functional integrity of the living brain can be assessed using neuroimaging, enabling large-scale epidemiological studies to identify factors that help or harm the brain. Iron is one nutritional factor that comes entirely from our diet, and its storage and transport in the body are under strong genetic control. In this review, we discuss how neuroimaging can help to identify associations between brain integrity, genetic variations, and dietary factors such as iron. We also review iron's essential role in cognition, and we note some challenges and confounds involved in interpreting links between diet and brain health. Finally, we outline some recent discoveries regarding the genetics of iron and its effects on the brain, suggesting the promise of neuroimaging in revealing how dietary factors affect the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4449-4461
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain development
  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • HFE
  • Iron
  • Neuroimaging
  • Nutrition
  • Transferrin


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