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Lone Banke Rasmussen, Lutz Schomburg, Josef Köhrle, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Birgit Hollenbach, Antonia Hög, Lars Ovesen, Hans Perrild, and Peter Laurberg

Objective

The objective was to study the associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid volume, as well as the association between serum selenium concentration and risk for an enlarged thyroid gland in an area with mild iodine deficiency before and after iodine fortification was introduced. Another objective was to examine the association between serum selenium concentration and prevalence of thyroid nodules.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Methods

We studied participants of two similar cross-sectional studies carried out before (1997–1998, n=405) and after (2004–2005, n=400) introduction of iodine fortification. Serum selenium concentration and urinary iodine were measured, and the thyroid gland was examined by ultrasonography in the same subjects. Associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid parameters were examined in multiple linear regression models or logistic regression models.

Results

Serum selenium concentration was found to be significantly, negatively associated with thyroid volume (P=0.006), and a low selenium status significantly increased the risk for thyroid enlargement (P=0.007). Furthermore, low serum selenium status had a tendency to increase the risk for development of multiple nodules (P=0.087).

Conclusions

Low serum selenium concentration was associated with a larger thyroid volume and a higher prevalence of thyroid enlargement.

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Allan Carlé, Peter Laurberg, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Nils Knudsen, Hans Perrild, Lars Ovesen, Lone Banke Rasmussen, and Torben Jorgensen

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.

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Pernille Vejbjerg, Nils Knudsen, Hans Perrild, Peter Laurberg, Allan Carlé, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Lone B Rasmussen, Lars Ovesen, and Torben Jørgensen

Objective

The iodine status of a population is traditionally evaluated by either urinary iodine (UI) excretion or by some measure of thyroid volume and the prevalence of goitre. In this prospective study of a mandatory iodization programme, we aimed to evaluate serum thyroglobulin (Tg) as a marker of iodine status in the population.

Methods

Two identical cross-sectional studies were performed before (1997–1998, n=4649) and after (2004–2005, n=3570) the initiation of the Danish iodization programme in two areas with mild and moderate iodine deficiency. Serum Tg was measured from blood samples. Thyroid volume was measured by ultrasonography.

Results

Before iodization, the median serum Tg was considerably higher in moderate than in mild iodine deficiency. Iodization led to a lower serum Tg in all examined age groups. The marked pre-iodization difference in Tg level between the regions was eliminated. The prevalence of Tg above the suggested reference limit (40 μg/l) decreased from 11.3 to 3.7% (P<0.0001). Using bootstrapping, we demonstrated a higher efficacy of Tg than of thyroid volume to show a difference between pre- and post-iodization values.

Conclusion

We found serum Tg to be a suitable marker of iodine nutrition status in the population. The results may suggest that the Danish iodization programme has led to a sufficient iodine intake, even if the median UI excretion is still marginally low according to WHO criteria.

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Anne Krejbjerg, Lena Bjergved, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Allan Carlé, Torben Jørgensen, Hans Perrild, Lars Ovesen, Lone Banke Rasmussen, Nils Knudsen, and Peter Laurberg

Objective

To assess the individuals' thyroid volume changes after the mandatory nationwide iodine fortification (IF) program in two Danish areas with different iodine intake at baseline (Copenhagen, mild iodine deficiency (ID) and Aalborg, moderate ID).

Design

A longitudinal population-based study (DanThyr).

Methods

We examined 2465 adults before (1997) and after (2008) the Danish IF of salt (2000). Ultrasonography was carried out by the same sonographers using the same equipment, after controlling performances. Participants treated for thyroid disease were excluded from analyses.

Results

Overall, median thyroid volume had increased in Copenhagen (11.8–12.2 ml, P=0.001) and decreased in Aalborg, although not significantly (13.3–13.1 ml, P=0.07) during the 11 years of follow-up.

In both regions, there was an age-related trend in individual changes in thyroid volume from baseline to follow-up; thyroid volume increased in women <40 years of age and decreased in women >40 years of age.

In a multivariate regression model, higher age at entry was a predictor (P<0.05) for thyroid volume decrease >20% during the follow-up period (women aged 40–45 years: odds ratio (OR) 4.3 (95% CI, 2.2–8.2); women aged 60–65 years: 5.8 (2.9–11.6)) and individuals of higher age were also less likely to have an increase in thyroid volume (women aged 40–45 years: OR 0.2 (0.1–0.3); women aged 60–65: OR 0.3 (0.2–0.4)).

Conclusions

Age-dependent differences in thyroid volume and enlargement had leveled out after the Danish iodization program. Thus, the previously observed increase in thyroid volume with age may have been caused by ID.