Background: The Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project is a multiagency and multicountry collaboration that was formed to improve micronutrient assessment and to better characterize anemia.
Objectives: The aims of the project were to
- identify factors associated with inflammation,
- assess the relations between inflammation, malaria infection, and biomarkers of iron and vitamin A status and compare adjustment approaches, and
- assess risk factors for anemia in preschool children (PSC) and women of reproductive age (WRA).
Design: The BRINDA database inclusion criteria included surveys that 1) were conducted after 2004, 2) had target groups of PSC, WRA, or both, and 3) used a similar laboratory methodology for the measurement of ≥1 biomarker of iron [ferritin or soluble transferrin receptor or vitamin A status (retinol-binding protein or retinol)] and ≥1 biomarker of inflammation (α-1-acid glycoprotein or C-reactive protein). Individual data sets were standardized and merged into a BRINDA database comprising 16 nationally and regionally representative surveys from 14 countries. Collectively, the database covered all 6 WHO geographic regions and contained ∼30,000 PSC and 27,000 WRA. Data were analyzed individually and combined with the use of a meta-analysis.
Results: The methods that were used to standardize the BRINDA database and the analytic approaches used to address the project’s research questions are presented in this article. Three approaches to adjust micronutrient biomarker concentrations in the presence of inflammation and malaria infection are presented, along with an anemia conceptual framework that guided the BRINDA project’s anemia analyses.
Conclusions: The BRINDA project refines approaches to interpret iron and vitamin A biomarker values in settings of inflammation and malaria infection and suggests the use of a new regression approach as well as proposes an anemia framework to which real-world data can be applied. Findings can inform guidelines and strategies to prevent and control micronutrient deficiencies and anemia globally.