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 11

November is Hyperthyroidism Awareness Month

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Clinical Thyroidology for the Public Volume 14 Issue 11 (PDF file, 5.52 MB)



Long-term benefits of thyroid surgery for Graves’ disease

There are 3 options for treatment of Graves’ disease: 1) antithyroid medications, 2) radioactive iodine therapy and 3) surgery. The current study compared the outcomes head to head of these 3 possible treatments. They looked at death, related health problems, health care cost, and the risk of relapse of the Graves’ disease.
Liu X et al. Outcomes of Graves’ disease patients following antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, or thyroidectomy as the first-line treatment. Ann Surg 273:1197–1206. PMID: 33914484.

Changes in thyroid function predict brain decline in the very old

Changes in thyroid function are common in older adults have been associated with brain impairment and dementia. Most of the prior studies included very small numbers of the oldest old, i.e., adults aged 85 years and older. This study aimed to examine the relationship between changes in thyroid function and brain function in adults aged 85 years and older.
Gan EH et al. Changes in serum thyroid function predict cognitive decline in the very old: Longitudinal findings from the Newcastle 85+ study. Thyroid. Epub 2021 Jun 2. PMID: 34074153.

Is thyroid hormone treatment in hypothyroidism a risk factor for stroke?

High thyroid hormone levels, as seen in hyperthyroidism, increases the risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke. However, it is not clear if high thyroid hormones produced by thyroid hormone prescribed for treatment of hypothyroidism is associated with either atrial fibrillation or stroke. The aim of the study was to determine if abnormal thyroid hormone levels in patients taking thyroid hormone is associated with increased risks for atrial fibrillation and stroke over time.
Papaleontiou M et al 2021 Thyroid hormone therapy and incident stroke. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Epub 2021 Jun 17. PMID: 34137866.

You may not need to stay on thyroid hormone replacement indefinitely

Thyroid hormone is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US, with most of these prescriptions for levothyroxine. In this study, the authors were interested in understanding the use of levothyroxine in the United States over time.
Brito JP et al 2021 Levothyroxine Use in the United States, 2008-2018. JAMA Intern Med. Epub 2021 Jun 21. PMID: 34152370.

Is thyroid cancer really more common in women than men?

Thyroid cancer has always been diagnosed more commonly in women than in men, this difference became more pronounced in recent years. However, a clear biologic reason was not found to explain the difference. This study was designed to understand how thyroid cancer risk varied by sex.
LeClair K et al 2021 Evaluation of gender inequity in thyroid cancer diagnosis: Differences by sex in US thyroid cancer incidence compared with a meta-analysis of subclinical thyroid cancer rates at autopsy. JAMA Intern Med. Epub 2021 Aug 30. PMID: 34459841.

Barriers and motivations for doctors to use active surveillance in patients with thyroid cancer

Active surveillance was introduced into the American Thyroid Association guidelines for the treatment of thyroid cancer in 2015, but many doctors who treat patients with thyroid cancer have not yet started to use it. The purpose of this study was to find out what motivates or prevents thyroid cancer doctors to use active surveillance.
Jensen CB et al 2021 Active surveillance for thyroid cancer: A qualitative study of barriers and facilitators to implementation. BMC Cancer 21:471. PMID: 33910527.