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No increase in commonest preventable cause of intellectual disability over 20 years
Date:7/18/2011

This release is available in French.

A new study that was prompted by recent reports of an increase in cases of congenital hypothyroidism in the United States, and aimed at assessing the incidence of this condition among Quebec newborns, suggests that the increase is entirely artifactual. CH is characterized by inadequate thyroid hormone production and is the most common cause of preventable intellectual disability. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism by Dr. Johnny Deladoy, a pediatric endocrinologist and researcher in metabolic and genetic diseases at CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and an assistant professor of pediatrics and biochemistry at University of Montreal.

The increase in the number of cases identified may be an artifact due to changes in screening methods and results in the treatment of some children who may, in fact, not benefit from treatment. "Overly sensitive screening methods that identify mild cases of CH represent an obvious shift in neonatal screening from its original purpose, which was to identify severe cases in which the benefits from treatment would be clearly documented", Deladoy said. "This might explain why, in the United States, more than a third of children labelled as having CH on the basis of neonatal screening no longer receive treatment after four years of age."

The lack of consensus about the thresholds on which to base detection has always presented a challenge for CH screening. Quebec pioneered universal screening for CH in newborns, being the first jurisdiction on the globe to initiate such a program in 1973. Quebec strategies and methodologies have proven to deliver reliable results and may serve as a model in the standardization of CH screening and diagnosis worldwide.

Thanks to a contribution rate of more than 90 % of hospitals and physicians
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Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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