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Inflammatory response

Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism can occur as a congential or as an acquired defect. The absence of thyroid function at birth is called cretinism. When the condition occurs later in life it is called myxedema. Congenital hypothyroidism Congenital hypothyroidism is perhaps one of the most common causes of preventable mental retardation. Hypothyroidism in the infant may result from a congenital lack of the thyroid gland or from abnormal biosynthesis of thyroid hormone or deficient TSH secretion. With congenital lack of the thyroid gland, the infant usually appears normal and functions normally at birth since hormones have been supplied in utero by the mother. Thyroid hormone is essential for normal brain development and growth, almost half of which occurs during the first six months of life. If untreated, congenital hypothyroidism causes mental retardation and impairment of growth. Long-term studies show that closely Pathophysiology 173 monitored thyroxine supplementation begin in the first six weeks of life results in normal intelligence. However, if treatment is delayed to between three months and seven months, 85% of these infants will have definite retardation. Fortunately, neonatal screening tests have been instituted to detect congenital hypothy roidism during early infancy in developed countries. In this test, a drop of blood is taken from the infant’s heal and analyzed for T4 and TSH.