Goiter and iodine deficiency
The Tang dynasty from China were the first doctors doctors who successfully treated patients suffering from goiter with iodine between 618-907 by using a wine based powder. Chinese pharmacopoeias of that period even recorded recommended treatments for goiter. In the 12th century, a Persian physician named Jurjan Zayn al-Din provided the first description of Graves disease in the most important medical dictionary of that period after he observed the resemblance between this disease and goiter.
Paracelsus (1493-1541) was the first person who noticed a relationship between goiter and minerals, especially lead in drinking water. Benefits of iodine were later discovered by Bernard Courtois in seaweed ash.
The thyroid gland is embriogenetic and phylogenetically derived from some primitive forms of intestines and it is believed that thyroid cells are primitive gastroenteric cells which during their evolution have migrated and have specialized in iodine uptake and storage and developing compounds based on iodine. Stomach and thyroid gland have in common this capacity as well as other functional similarities.
Goiter was a common condition in the regions where there was a deficiency of iodine for a prolonged period of time. In Switzerland for the first time authorities proposed the introduction of iodized salt in human nutrition. Endemic goiter is just a type of goiter associated with iodine deficiency. This type of goiter is easily preventable. Currently in most countries institution that deal with health policy have imposed by law the minimum necessary iodine uptake of iodine in foods such as flour, salt, water, etc.. In support of this movement the support group to eliminate iodine deficiency was created online. The aim of this group is to eliminate the risk for some children to be born with malformations due to a cause so trivial as dietary iodine deficiency, which happens mainly because the lack of awareness of mothers. The network’s mission is to support national efforts to iodine deficiency elimination programs for sustainable development and promoting collaboration between public and , private, scientific and civic institutions.
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