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Iodine deficiency as a cause of autism

      Autism is an important public health problem in the United States with a reported increase in incidence and prevalence over the last 2–3 decades [
      • Barbaresi W.J.
      • Katusic S.K.
      • Colligan R.C.
      • Weaver A.L.
      • Jacobsen S.J.
      The incidence of autism in Olmsted Country, Minnesota, 1976–1997: results from a population-based study.
      ,
      • Blaxill M.F.
      What's going on? The question of time trends in autism.
      ,
      • Mandell D.S.
      • Thompson W.W.
      • Weintraub E.S.
      • Destefano F.
      • Blank M.B.
      Trends in diagnosis rates for autism and ADHD at hospital discharge in the context of other psychiatric diagnoses.
      ,
      • Newschaffer C.J.
      • Falb M.D.
      • Gurney J.G.
      National autism prevalence trends from United States special education data.
      ]. Some of this trend could be due to a true increase in this condition and some due to changes in diagnostic patterns [
      • Wazana A.
      • Bresnahan M.
      • Kline J.
      The autism epidemic: fact or artifact?.
      ,
      • Sullivan K.M.
      • Maberly G.F.
      Iodine deficiency as a cause of autism?.
      ]. The recent article by Román proposes maternal hypothyroxinemia as an important cause of autism [
      • Román G.C.
      Autism: transient in utero hypothyroxinemia related to maternal flavonoid ingestion during pregnancy and to other environmental antithyroid agents.
      ] with which I strongly agree. Román provides convincing evidence for his hypothesis. Maternal hypothyroxinemia can result from a number of different pathways and etiologies, including iodine deficiency. A diet deficient in iodine can result in a wide range of negative effects on the developing fetus, from mild IQ loss to severe mental retardation, i.e., cretinism [
      • Delange F.
      Iodine deficiency as a cause of brain damage.
      ]. There has also been an association between iodine deficiency and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [
      • Vermiglio F.
      • Lo Presti V.P.
      • Moleti M.
      • Sidoti M.
      • Tortorella G.
      • Scaffidi G.
      • et al.
      Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders in the offspring of mothers exposed to mild-moderate iodine deficiency: a possible novel iodine deficiency disorder in developed countries.
      ], another condition that has been increasing in the US [
      • Mandell D.S.
      • Thompson W.W.
      • Weintraub E.S.
      • Destefano F.
      • Blank M.B.
      Trends in diagnosis rates for autism and ADHD at hospital discharge in the context of other psychiatric diagnoses.
      ,
      • Olfson M.
      • Gameroff M.J.
      • Marcus S.C.
      • Jensen P.S.
      National trends in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
      ].
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      References

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