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Iodine Deficiency Blamed For Low IQ Among Thai Children

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Iodine deficiency blamed for low IQ

The average IQ among Thai children has dropped to just 91 compared to the international average score of 90-110, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said Thursday citing a 2009 report.

Blaming iodine deficiency as the culprit, the ministry will soon issue a regulation insisting that all salted products carry iodine. Health stations nationwide will also be required to provide iodine supplements to pregnant women from October onwards.

Urging manufacturers of salt, fish sauce, crispy snacks and instant noodle to add iodine to their products at a meeting yesterday, Jurin said the deficiency problem had to be solved among pregnant women, newborns and children in particular.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-27

Edited by george
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Was this discovered by the same 'Scientist' who found that flying at altitude exposes you to more cosmic rays.

Obviously Abhisit and Korn who are Oxford graduates were drip fed iodine from birth.

This has to be the poorest excuse I have ever heard to excuse a completely useless school system.

I have been hanging out with a colleague's family in close proximity recently. They have a 6 year old who attends the local government school.

The kid seems completely obsessed with watching videos of the national anthem on youtube and takes enormous pride in regaling us with his singing rendition for about 2 hours a night. I think the problem is far closer to home than iodine deficiency.

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91 huh? Well, I'm glad to see it is on the rise. I well remeber the Queen's despair a few years ago when the measured level was a few points lower. Probably due to social crippling from a young age and some malnutrition, but maybe iodine deficiency too.

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Cretinism is a condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth due to untreated congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones(congenital hypothyroidism) due to maternal nutritional deficiency of iodine.

Check the link I posted, showing the deficiency across the world on a heat-map.

Basically, in general, there is no more deficiency here than in Europe. Ergo...it is an excuse, not an explanation.

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To the defense of the OP article and the claimed Iodine Deficiency being a possible cause for a low IQ I have studied a bit and have to say that there have been a lot of studies about an Iodine shortage with pregnant women:

an excerpt:

Damaged Reproduction: The Most Important Consequence of Iodine Deficiency

Need for iodine during pregnancy

International organizations, including the United States Institute ofMedicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, the WorldHealth Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children'sFund (UNICEF), and the International Council for Control ofIodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD), recommend a daily intakeof 150 µg iodine for nonpregnant adults (8, 9). This numberis based on studies of iodine accumulation and turnover, theT4 dose required to maintain euthyroidism in athyreotics, T4disposal rates, and the amounts of iodine necessary to preventgoiter in populations (10). Pregnant women need more than thisbaseline requirement, to cover the iodine needs of the developingfetus and to compensate for increased renal iodine losses. Renalclearance of iodine increases during pregnancy (11); in onestudy, the concentration of iodine in urine was 60% higher duringpregnancy in women from a mildly iodine-deficient area (12).An older balance study estimated an average iodine requirementof 160 µg/day during pregnancy (13). Several reports fromiodine-deficient areas in Europe indicated that a total dailyiodine intake of about 200 µg prevents pregnancy-associatedgoiter (14, 15). The most recent IOM methodology defines anestimated average requirement (EAR) for a nutrient as the amountthat will be sufficient for 50% of the population, and fromthis calculates a recommended daily allowance (RDA); the EARfor iodine in pregnancy is 160 µg/day, and the

AND:

Effects of maternal iodine deficiency on the fetus and neonate

The most vulnerable target for iodine deficiency is the developing brain.Iodine is critical to maturation of the central nervous system, particularlyits myelination.*

From a report: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 86, No. 6 2360-2363

http://jcem.endojour...short/86/6/2360

* Myelination: The formation of the myelin sheath around a nerve fiber. Also known as myelinization.

* Definition of Myelin: http://www.medterms....articlekey=4477

IMO the deficiency of Iodine can certainly be related to a developing brain and therefore the IQ.

LaoPo

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No-one is claiming that deficiency doesn't cause these things.

I question that there is a deficiency at such a level that it actually constitutes a deficiency that causes this.

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And, to continue with my post, above:

Effects of maternal iodine deficiency on the fetus and neonate

excerpt:

Thus, iodine deficiency putsvirtually everyone in the affected population at some risk forbrain damage. Many studies have compared performance of iodine-deficientchildren with that of iodine-sufficient peers on standardizedintelligence tests. A meta-analysis of 18 such studies, comprising2214 subjects, concluded that iodine deficiency lowered a meanintelligence quotient by 13.5 points (25). In view of the manypeople living in iodine-deficient areas and their vulnerabilityto its effects on the developing brain, these numbers indicatea staggering public health problem. This and neonatal mortality,rather than goiter, have become the main reasons for advocatingurgent correction of iodine deficiency.

Conclusions

excerpt:

Iodized salt should be viewed as a means to an end—adequateiodine nutrition—rather than as an end in itself. Monitoringof people is essential. We have previously cited examples whereinitially successful programs later deteriorated, usually becauseof insufficient attention to monitoring (e.g. Guatemala, Mexico,Thailand; Ref. 29).

From: http://jcem.endojour...short/86/6/2360 - The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

LaoPo

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No-one is claiming that deficiency doesn't cause these things.

I question that there is a deficiency at such a level that it actually constitutes a deficiency that causes this.

I didn't want to argue with you TAWP and I really have no idea if the Iodine deficiency in Thailand, nationwide, is at such a (low) level that it indeed could be seen as the cause for the average IQ of 91 in Thailand. It's probably a combination of factors.

But 91 was an average number, meaning that quite a high number is well below 91...

But it's not an exclusively Thailand related problem as in 1995 it was already published that 400 million people in China live in regions where idodine supply is far from sufficient and found:

China fights fall in IQ due to iodine deficiency

More than eight million Chinese people have reduced IQ levels because of a shortage of iodine in their diets, according to a survey team from the China National Committee on Care for Children. Speaking last week Ji Xiaocheng, the senior member of the team, said that the potential for iodine deficiency in China was huge: about 400 million people—one in every three Chinese—live in regions where the natural iodine supply is far from sufficient.

Only recently has the Chinese government realised the cost of diseases caused by iodine deficiency. According …

From: BMJ helping doctors make better decisions. 21 January 1995

http://www.bmj.com/c...3/148.1.extract

I know from previous discussions on TV about the IQ in Thailand that the discussion can be very controversial and sensitive, yet it is "interesting" that Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit was citing from a 2009 report and blaming iodine deficiency as the culprit for the low IQ average of 91 which is of course on the low side from the "normal" international average score of 90-110.

It sure isn't on the higher side.

And , if iodine-adding to salted products could help to boost the IQ, why not?

LaoPo

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the ministry will soon issue a regulation insisting that all salted products carry iodine.

As it apparently isn't a requirement already, which is rather surprising as it was instituted in the West decades ago, then it's a progressive step for them to do so.

The minuscule amounts that are added to salt are all that is necessary to maintain a proper level of this extremely important micronutrient that is often not achieved with dietary intake alone (which is precisely why the West instituted "iodized salt").

Not so definitively sure about the map, TAWP. Its source is from WHO in 2002 and I wouldn't put it past Thailand, or other countries for that matter, for submitting bogus numbers at the time. I note China doesn't have a problem either according to the map, but yet that is contradicted by Post # 10.

If they haven't been mandating salt be iodized before now, it's entirely possible that people have not been getting adequate amounts and that could easily lead to the problems described in the OP.

Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation.

According to public health experts, iodisation of salt may be the world's simplest and most cost-effective measure available to improve health

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodized_salt

Hats off to the administration for attempting to drag this country out of the 1950's.

Edited by Buchholz

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I would think it's not too little iodine in as much as it's too much Thai soaps.:huh:

I was thinking this too :rolleyes: I wonder if drinking gatorade while pregnant would help? I'm not joking..

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I wonder if drinking gatorade while pregnant would help? I'm not joking..

Gatorade has sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate... but iodine is not listed as one of its components.

I did find a brand of salt in Thailand that is already iodized and that should be sufficient to reach the 220 micograms daily recommended amount of iodine for pregnant women.

It's the Prung Thip brand of salt:

thairefinedsaltgroup.jpg

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Fish heads are the answer..

Ocean Fish The iodine content of fish is quite variable. In general, marine fish have more iodine than fresh water fish, and a significant part of the iodine is in the head of the fish (where the thyroid is). Here are some typical amounts for some common fish, in mcg/100g: Cod (110), Haddock (250), Herring (29), Mackerel (140), Sardines (29), Tuna (30), Atlantic Salmon (76), Rainbow Trout (13). Here are a few ranges to give you a sense of the variability of iodine in fish (mg/100g): Haddock (60 – 920), Pollack (23 – 266), Cod (18 – 1270).

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