BACKGROUND: Goiter development depends on genetic and environmental factors. The major environmental factor is iodine intake, whereas diverging results have been published concerning the association between smoking and goiter. METHODS: A comparable, cross-sectional study was performed of patients from 2 areas in Denmark with mild and moderate iodine deficiency. A random sample of women and men in selected age groups from the general community was investigated; 4649 subjects participated. Smoking habits were investigated with questionnaires and interviews. Ultrasonography and clinical examination of the thyroid were performed, serum thyroglobulin was measured, and iodine concentration in spot urine samples was analyzed. Data were analyzed in linear models and logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Serum thyroglobulin level and thyroid volume at ultrasonography were positively associated with smoking habits (P
BACKGROUND: Iodine intake in Greenland has been hypothesized to exceed 10 times the recommended amount. The transition from a traditional Arctic society may change the iodine intake, but no field studies have been performed. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to ascertain iodine intakes, factors affecting iodine intake in circumpolar populations, and the usefulness of urinary iodine excretion as a biomarker for validation of Inuit food-frequency questionnaires. DESIGN: Data were collected in a cohort study of 4 Greenland population groups: Inuit living in the capital city, the major town, and settlements in East Greenland and non-Inuit. Supplement use and lifestyle factors were evaluated with questionnaires, and dietary habits were ascertained with a food-frequency questionnaire. Iodine was measured in spot urine samples. RESULTS: One percent of the population of Greenland was invited, and the participation rate was 95%. Less than 5% of Inuit but 55% of non-Inuit had urinary iodine excretion
I deficiency diseases remain a health problem even in some developed countries. Therefore, measurement of I intake and knowledge about food choice related to I intake is important. We examined I intake in 4649 randomly selected participants from two cities in Denmark (Copenhagen and Aalborg) with an expected difference in I intake. I intake was assessed both by a food frequency questionnaire and by measuring I in casual urine samples. I excretion was expressed as a concentration and as estimated 24-h l excretion. Further, subgroups with low I intake were recognized. I intake was lower in Aalborg than in Copenhagen for all expressions, and lower than recommended in both cities if I intake from supplements was not included. Milk was the most important I source, accounting for about 44% of the I intake, and milk (P
OBJECTIVE: Studies of hypothyroidism are often based on referred patients, and limited information is available on the incidence rates of subtypes of hypothyroidism in the general population. We therefore studied incidences of subtypes of primary, overt hypothyroidism in a Danish population cohort and compared incidences in two subcohorts with different levels of iodine intake. DESIGN: A prospective population-based study, monitoring a well-defined cohort representative of the Danish population. METHODS: The Danish Investigation of Iodine Intake and Thyroid Diseases registry of hyper- and hypothyroidism was established as part of the monitoring of the iodine fortification of salt in Denmark. A computer-based system linked to laboratory databases identified all patients diagnosed with new, biochemically overt hypothyroidism in populations living in Aalborg (moderate iodine deficiency, n = 311,102) and Copenhagen (mild iodine deficiency, n = 227,632). We subsequently evaluated all identified patients to verify incident thyroid disease, and subclassified hypothyroidism into nosological types. RESULTS: During a 4-year period (2,027,208 person-years) 685 new cases of overt hypothyroidism were diagnosed in the cohort; the incidence rate was 32.8 per 100,000 person-years (standardised to the Danish population). Nosological types of hypothyroidism were: spontaneous (presumably autoimmune) 84.4%, post-partum 4.7%, amiodarone-associated 4.0%, subacute thyroiditis 1.8%, previous radiation or surgery 1.8%, congenital 1.6% and lithium-associated 1.6%. Crude incidence rates were 29.0 around Aalborg and 40.6 in an area of Copenhagen. The higher incidence rate of hypothyroidism in the area with higher iodine intake was caused solely by more cases of spontaneous (presumably autoimmune) hypothyroidism, whereas the incidence of non-spontaneous hypothyroidism (all types combined) was significantly lower in the area with higher iodine intake. CONCLUSION: In a population-based study we observed a higher incidence of hypothyroidism with higher iodine intake. This was due solely to the entity of spontaneous hypothyroidism. The occurrence of overt hypothyroidism was relatively low in Denmark.
OBJECTIVE: To establish an Inuit body mass index (BMI) norm from a healthy, not malnourished, pure Inuit population and to investigate the development of overweight in the Inuit in Greenland. DESIGN: Longitudinal study with 35 years follow-up on overweight among Inuit in Greenland. METHODS: The heights and weights of 97% of all inhabitants in Eastgreenland in 1963 (n=1852) were recovered recently and BMI calculated. We obtained similar data in 96% of the 50-69-year-old population in Eastgreenland in 1998 and in a random sample of 25% of individuals aged 50-69 years in the capital Nuuk (n=535). RESULTS: Overweight or obesity, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), was found in 30% of all men and 22% of all women in Eastgreenland in 1963, and in 31% of young Inuit hunters in 1963. Such high rates were incompatible with a hunter's way of living. Inuit-specific BMI norms from data on healthy Inuit aged 20-29 years in 1963 were computed: men, 20.2-27.9; women, 17.9-27.7. These differed from the WHO classification (P
BACKGROUND: Thyroid autoimmunity is more common in females than in males. One possible explanation for this female preponderance may be the effect of oestrogens on the immune system. It has also been suggested that foetal microchimerism involving transfer of foetal cells into maternal tissue during pregnancy may play an important role. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the association between the presence of circulating thyroid autoantibodies and previous pregnancy, parity and the use of oral contraceptives (OCs) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in a population cohort. METHODS: We examined 3712 women randomly selected from the general population. Serum was analysed for thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) and thyroglobulin antibody (Tg-Ab) using assays based on an RIA technique (DYNO test). Data were analysed in logistic regression models to adjust for possible confounders. Women previously treated for thyroid disease or with pregnancy within 1 year prior to the study were excluded from the analyses. RESULTS: In both univariate and multivariate models and whether the presence of TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab was investigated alone or in combination, findings were negative with respect to an association between circulating thyroid antibodies and previous pregnancy, number of pregnancies, parity and previous abortion. There was no association between thyroid autoantibodies and use of OCs. Women aged 60-65 years receiving HRT now or previously had a lower prevalence of Tg-Ab (univariate, P = 0.01; multivariate, P = 0.02). No such association was observed between HRT and TPO-Ab. CONCLUSION: In this population study there was no association between previous pregnancy, parity and thyroid antibodies, which argues against the role of microchimerism as a trigger of thyroid autoimmunity. Exogenous oestrogens may reduce aspects of autoimmunity.
Around 3-4 billion people in the world are covered by iodine supplementation programs to prevent developmental brain damage and other iodine deficiency (ID) disorders. Mild ID is associated with more hyperthyroidism and less hypothyroidism in the population than a high iodine intake. Knowledge of the iodine intake levels where the shifts in incidences occur is important for planning of iodine supplementation programs. A computer-based register linked to thyroid diagnostic laboratories was used to continuously identify all new cases of overt hyper- and hypothyroidism in two population cohorts with moderate and mild ID, respectively (Aalborg, n = 310,124; urinary iodine, 45 micro g/liter; and Copenhagen, n = 225,707; urinary iodine, 61 micro g/liter). The investigation was initiated before iodization of salt in Denmark and was part of the monitoring program. In 1997-1998, the incidence rate of overt hyperthyroidism was high in the area with the lowest iodine intake (92.9/100,000 per year) compared with the area with only mild ID (65.4/100,000 per year). Standardized rate ratio was 1.49, and 95% confidence interval was 1.22-1.81. The opposite relationship was present for overt hypothyroidism (moderate ID, 26.5/100,000 per year; mild ID, 40.1/100,000 per year; standardized rate ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.97). The different incidence rates were confirmed during each of the two following years. The results of this prospective investigation of the incidence of overt hyper- and hypothyroidism suggest that iodine supplementation of a population may increase the incidence of overt hypothyroidism, even if the population is moderately iodine-deficient. In such a population, the increase in risk of hypothyroidism should be weighed against the risk of ID disorders such as hyperthyroidism due to multinodular toxic goiter. The optimal level of iodine intake to prevent thyroid disease may be a relatively narrow range around the recommended daily iodine intake of 150 micro g.
OBJECTIVE: Pregnancy has been suggested as part of the explanation of the gender difference in the prevalence of goitre, but opposing results have been reported on the association between pregnancy and goitre. We investigated the association between parity and thyroid volume and a possible impact of iodine deficiency and tobacco smoking on this association. DESIGN: A comparative, cross-sectional study of 3712 women randomly sampled from the general population in two geographical areas with moderate and mild iodine deficiency. METHODS: The participants answered questionnaires with an obstetric anamnesis, and ultrasonography of the thyroid was performed. Data were analysed in linear models and logistic regression analysis to adjust for age, iodine status, use of oral contraceptives and smoking habits. Women with present or recent pregnancies were excluded from the analyses. RESULTS: A higher thyroid volume was found among parous than among nulliparous women (P=0.007). The association between parity and thyroid volume was strongest in the youngest age groups, in the region with the most severe iodine deficiency, and among smokers. No association was found between parity and the prevalence of solitary or multiple thyroid nodules. Number of births, age at menarche or menopause, the number of fertile years, and age at first childbirth were not associated with thyroid volume. CONCLUSION: Pregnancy increases thyroid volume, particularly when combined with tobacco smoking and iodine deficiency. The effect is probably reversible seen over a spectrum of several years.
BACKGROUND: Iodine intake can be measured in various ways, and each method may have advantages and disadvantages. OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate the potential associations of various measures of iodine intake with thyroid volume, prevalence of thyroid nodules, and serum thyroglobulin. We also sought to identify, if possible, groups at risk of thyroid disease because of their food choices. DESIGN: This cohort study included 4649 randomly selected subjects with mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency; the subjects lived in 2 cities in Denmark. Iodine intake was estimated by using a food-frequency questionnaire and by measuring iodine excretion in spot urine samples. Thyroid volume and nodularity were measured with ultrasonography. RESULTS: In multiple linear regression models, significant inverse relations were found between thyroid volume and estimated 24-h iodine excretion, iodine intake from diet plus supplements, iodine intake from diet/kg body wt, and milk intake (P = 0.001 for all), but not urinary iodine excretion measured as a concentration (P = 0.40). All measures of iodine intake were significantly related to serum thyroglobulin concentration (P
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Autoimmune thyroiditis is one of the most common autoimmune disorders. Autoantibodies against the thyroid gland, with thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) and thyroglobulin antibody (Tg-Ab) as the most common autoantibodies, can often be demonstrated in serum in population surveys. In the present study we evaluated if TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab tend to develop in parallel or whether one or the other may be more prevalent in subsets of the population. METHODS: In a cross-sectional comparative study, performed in two areas of Denmark with mild and moderate iodine deficiency, 4649 randomly selected subjects in age groups between 18 and 65 years were examined. Blood tests were analysed for TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab using assays based on the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. The participants answered questionnaires, were clinically examined and had urine samples collected. RESULTS: The overall prevalence rate of thyroid autoantibodies (TPO-Ab and/or Tg-Ab) was 18.8%. The prevalence rates of TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab were similar (13.1 vs. 13.0%). Both antibodies were more frequent in females than in males, and in females the prevalence rates increased with age. In the age group 60-65 years thyroid antibodies were more frequently measured in sera from moderate than from mild iodine-deficient area (P = 0.02), whereas no differences were seen in younger subjects. In 38.8% of participants with thyroid autoantibodies in serum, both antibodies were present. In sera with both TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab present the concentrations of the antibodies were generally higher than in sera with only one type of antibody present. CONCLUSION: The prevalence rates of TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab were similar in this large population survey. The results suggest that TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab predominantly develop due to a general alteration in the immune system, whereas specific antigenic mechanisms are probably of less importance. However, further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms involved in the development of thyroid autoantibodies.