Background: Iron plays a critical role in normal brain functions and development, but it has also been known to have adverse neurological effects. Methods: Here, we investigated the associations of iron levels in hair with regional gray matter volume (rGMV), regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and cognitive differences in a study cohort of 590 healthy young adults. Results: Our findings showed that high iron levels were associated with lower rGMV in areas including the hippocampus, lower rCBF in the anterior and posterior parts of the brain, greater FA in areas including the part of the splenium of the corpus callosum, lower MD in the overlapping area including the splenium of the corpus callosum, as well as greater MD in the left hippocampus and areas including the frontal lobe. Conclusion: These results are compatible with the notion that iron plays diverse roles in neural mechanisms in healthy young adults.
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