Clinical Thyroidology for the Public summarizes selected research studies discussed in the previous month’s issue of Clinical Thyroidology, an official publication of the American Thyroid Association. Editor-in-chief, Alan Farwell, MD, FACE

Volume 14 Issue 7

July is Graves' Disease Awareness Month

Volume 14 Issue 7

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Clinical Thyroidology for the Public Volume 14 Issue 7 (PDF file, 4.74 MB)



The association between TSH and depression may not be what you expect

It is clear that thyroid abnormalities with abnormal TSH and abnormal free hormone levels frequently have symptoms such as fatigue, problems with sleep, concentration or memory and weight changes. On the other hand, we do not really have consistent information whether mild thyroid abnormalities with abnormal TSH but normal free hormone levels can cause similar symptoms. The authors designed this study to look for an association between TSH levels and risk of developing depression going forward in a large group of Brazilian adults.
Varella AC et al Thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and incident depression: Results from the ELSA-Brasil study. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf ). Epub 2021 Jan 1. PMID: 33386609.

Risk of pancreatitis with methimazole

Methimazole is an effective medication that is used to treat hyperthyroidism. While usually well tolerated, there have been some reports of acute pancreatitis from methimazole. This study was done to understand the risk of this condition for patients were taking methimazole and compared with the general population.
Pecere A et al 2020 Methimazole treatment and risk of acute pancreatitis: A population-based cohort study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 105:dgaa544. PMID: 32813014.

Why a person might choose a ‘scarless’ approach to thyroid surgery

Surgery to remove all, or part, the thyroid gland is a common way to treat some types of thyroid disease. One area of interest for some thyroid surgeons is to try and eliminate the neck scar that develops where this cut is made (scarless surgery). The research described here studied patients planning thyroid surgery to learn what factors were important to them when deciding whether to have their surgery using a ‘scarless’ approach.
Sukpanich R et al 2020 The influence of cosmetic concerns on patient preferences for approaches to thyroid lobectomy: A discrete choice experiment. Thyroid 30:1306–1313. PMID: 32204688.

Mothers taking iodine supplementation while breastfeeding may improve child’s brain development at 3 years of age

Iodine is an essential element used to make thyroid hormone, which is especially important for baby’s normal brain development during pregnancy. Iodine is taken up into breastmilk in breastfeeding mothers to provide iodine for babies after delivery. This study studied long-term effects of iodine supplements given to breastfeeding mothers on child’s development at 3 years of age.
Nazeri P et al 2021 Dose maternal iodine supplementation during the lactation have a positive impact on the neurodevelopment of children? Three-year follow up of a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. Epub 2021 May 11. PMID: 33974129.

What is the risk of hypothyroidism after radiation therapy to the head and neck for cancer in children?

Hypothyroidism is a potential long-term complication of external beam radiation (EBR) therapy to the head and neck for treating certain cancers in children, adolescents and young adults. Turning off the thyroid by treating with thyroid hormone to suppress the level of TSH may be one way to prevent long-term damage to the thyroid by EBR. This study examined whether high dose thyroid hormone therapy taken before and during radiation could be protective in reducing the subsequent risk of hypothyroidism in such patients.
Massimino et al Long-term results of suppressing thyroidstimulating hormone during radiotherapy to prevent primary hypothyroidism in medulloblastoma/PNET and Hodgkin lymphoma: a prospective cohort study. Front. Med. 15, 101–107 (2021).

MorbiNet: a Spanish registry-based study for the evaluation of chronic illnesses in adult patients with hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is common in the US adult population and is treated with thyroid hormone therapy, specifically levothyroxine. While many patients with hypothyroidism will only have that problem, most have other chronic illnesses. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships, positive or negative, of different illnesses with respect to hypothyroidism.
Moratalla-Navarro F et al 2020 MorbiNet study: Hypothyroidism comorbidity networks in the adult general population. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Epub 2020 Dec 15. PMID: 33319230.


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