Thyroid hormone plays a critical role in the development and maturation of the fetal brain.Deficient production of thyroid hormone or a defect in thyroid hormone receptor activity can lead on to hypothyroidism. Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is one of the most common preventable causes of mental retardation in children.The incidence of CH in India is estimated to be 2.1 per 1000 live births which is at least eight times higher than what is reported in western literature. Universal neonatal screening has been acknowledged as the most effective method to prevent the severe developmental and physical morbidities associated with congenital hypothyroidism (CH). However, despite proven benefits, efforts to implement it in India are still in its infancy.
Congenital hypothyroidism features manifest minimally at birth making it difficult to pick up cases on the basis of clinical features alone.Clinical diagnosis is made in only 10% children in the first month of life and 30% in the first 3 months.Hence there is a high risk of delayed diagnosis exposing the child to various degrees of developmental delay.
In view of the high incidence, apparently asymptomatic nature, propensity to cause neurodevelopmental delay and residual impairment even with treatment, early detection and treatment of CH would be the most cost effective method to confront this problem. Despite the crushing evidence of high incidence of CH, India continues to await a plausible universal screening program. It is high time we start routine neonatal screening for CH to tackle this preventable cause of mental retardation.
1. Sanghvi U, Diwakar KK. Universal newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Indian Pediatr 2008; 45(4): 331-2.
2. Hulse JA, Grant DB, Clayton BE, Lilly P, Jackson D, Spracklan A, et al. Population screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Br Med J 1980; 280(6215): 675-8.
3. Price DA, Ehrlich RM, Walfish PG. Congenital hypothyroidism. Clinical and laboratory characteristics in infants detected by neonatal screening. Arch Dis Child 1981; 56(11): 845-51.
4. Rastogi MV, Lafranchi SH. Congenital hypothyroidism. Orphanet J Rare Dis 2010; 5(1): 17.
Source(s) of Funding
This article has been downloaded from WebmedCentral. With our unique author driven post publication peer
review, contents posted on this web portal do not undergo any prepublication peer or editorial review. It is
completely the responsibility of the authors to ensure not only scientific and ethical standards of the manuscript
but also its grammatical accuracy. Authors must ensure that they obtain all the necessary permissions before
submitting any information that requires obtaining a consent or approval from a third party. Authors should also
ensure not to submit any information which they do not have the copyright of or of which they have transferred
the copyrights to a third party.
Contents on WebmedCentral are purely for biomedical researchers and scientists. They are not meant to cater to
the needs of an individual patient. The web portal or any content(s) therein is neither designed to support, nor
replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Your use of the
WebmedCentral site and its contents is entirely at your own risk. We do not take any responsibility for any harm
that you may suffer or inflict on a third person by following the contents of this website.