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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Neurocognitive function in children with compensated hypothyroidism: lack of short term effects on or off thyroxin

Naghma J Aijaz1, Evelyn M Flaherty2, Thomas Preston3, Stacey Storch Bracken2, Andrew H Lane1 and Thomas A Wilson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY, USA

2 Department of Psychology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY, USA

3 Department of Neurology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY and St. Charles Hospital, Port Jefferson, NY, USA

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2006, 6:2  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-6-2

Published: 20 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Although thyroxin therapy clearly is beneficial to children with frank hypothyroidism there is little data on the effects of thyroxin in children with compensated or subclinical hypothyroidism. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of thyroxin therapy on cognitive function in children with compensated hypothyroidism. The hypothesis was that thyroxin therapy would change neuropsychological function.

Methods

Eleven patients with a history of sub clinical hypothyroidism entered the study. At the start of the study, six out of the 11 were on thyroxin therapy, while 5 were off therapy. All patients underwent a battery of neuropsychological testing and thyroid function tests at the start of study. Based on the results of thyroid function tests, two of the 5 patients who were off thyroxin were started back on thyroxin. All of the 6 patients who were on thyroxin were taken off thyroxin. All patients then underwent repeat neuropsychological testing and thyroid functions after an average of 91 days.

Results

Thyroxin therapy could not be shown to have an effect on neuropsychological function in this short term study. Our patients had attention problems as compared to the normal population. No significant differences were found between our subjects and normal population standards in verbal processing, visual processing, motor speed/coordination and achievement.

Conclusion

In this small, short term study, thyroxin therapy could not be shown to affect neuropsychological function in children with compensated hypothyroidism. These children may have attention problems but appear to have normal verbal and visual processing, motor speed/coordination and achievement.