Iodine exposure in the NICU may lead to decrease in thyroid function, IRP study suggests
Iodine solutions are commonly used as disinfectants to prepare the skin for surgical or other procedures
Exposure to iodine used for medical procedures in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may increase an infant’s risk for congenital hypothyroidism (loss of thyroid function), suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The authors found that infants diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism following a NICU stay had higher blood iodine levels on average than infants who had a NICU stay but had normal thyroid function. Their study appears in The Journal of Nutrition.
“Limiting iodine exposure among this group of infants whenever possible may help lower the risk of losing thyroid function,” said the study’s first author, James L. Mills, M.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Congenital hypothyroidism is a partial or complete loss of thyroid function. The thyroid, located in the throat, makes iodine-containing hormones that regulate growth, brain development and the rate of chemical reactions in the body. Treatment consists of thyroid hormone therapy and must begin within four weeks after birth or permanent intellectual disability may result.
This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022