Acquired Juvenile Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs in either sex from infancy through adulthood but most commonly presents during pubertal development in girls (LaFranchi 1992). In pediatric populations, acquired hypothy-roidism typically results from autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland. Classic symptoms of acquired hypothyroidism include poor growth, weight gain, poor concentration, depression, and fatigue. Similar to congenital hypothyroidism, acquired hy-pothyroidism is treated with levothyroxine (Fisher and Grueters 2008).

Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveal that adolescents with subclinical hypothyroidism outperform their euthyroid counterparts on reading and block design tests (Wu et al. 2006). Subclinical hypothyroidism consists of mild elevation of thyroid-stimulating hormone with normal thyroid hormone levels (Biondi and Cooper 2008) (see Figure 19-1). The observation of Wu et al. (2006) agrees with an earlier report of decline in school performance following treatment for acquired juvenile hypothyroidism (Rovet et al. 1993). The authors of these studies speculated that the decreased arousal associated with hypothyroidism may underlie better school performance.

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