Iodine Deficiency Disorders

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The effects of iodine deficiency on the growth and development of a population that can be prevented by correction of iodine deficiency, denoted by the term IDD, are evident at all stages, including

Figure 2 A mother and child from a New Guinea village who are severely iodine deficient. The mother has a large goiter and the child is also affected. The larger the goiter, the more likely it is that she will have a cretin child. This can be prevented by eliminating the iodine deficiency before the onset of pregnancy. (Reproduced from Hetzel BS and Pandav CS (eds.) (1996) SOS for a Billion: The Conquest of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

Table 1 Spectrum of Iodine Deficiency Disorders

Figure 2 A mother and child from a New Guinea village who are severely iodine deficient. The mother has a large goiter and the child is also affected. The larger the goiter, the more likely it is that she will have a cretin child. This can be prevented by eliminating the iodine deficiency before the onset of pregnancy. (Reproduced from Hetzel BS and Pandav CS (eds.) (1996) SOS for a Billion: The Conquest of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

particularly the fetus, the neonate, and in infancy, which are periods of rapid brain growth. The term goiter has been used for many years to describe the enlarged thyroid gland caused by iodine deficiency (Figure 2). Goiter is indeed the obvious and familiar feature of iodine deficiency, but knowledge of the effects of iodine deficiency on brain development has greatly expanded in the past 30 years so that the term IDD was introduced to refer to all the effects of iodine deficiency on growth and development, particularly brain development, in a population that can be prevented by correction of the deficiency (Table 1).

The following sections discuss in detail the IDD at various stages of life: the fetus, the neonate, the child and adolescent, and the adult (Table 1).

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