Thyroid Treatment Did Not Improve IVF Miscarriage Rate in Women With Thyroid Antibodies But Normal Thyroid Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Tianpei Hong, MD, PhD
Of behalf of Prof. Jie Qiao and all the coauthors,
Director, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism
Director, Department of Laboratory Medicine
Peking University Third Hospital
Beijing, China

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Ÿ           Women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies have been reported to be at 2- to 3-fold higher risk of spontaneous miscarriage than those who test negative. However, the effect of levothyroxine on miscarriage among women with positive thyroid autoantibodies and normal thyroid function has been documented in limited studies with conflicting results.
  • Ÿ           Given the substantial difficulty achieving successful pregnancy among infertile women, identifying optimal treatment for infertile women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies is particularly important. There are a few randomized clinical trials showing a beneficial effect of levothyroxine treatment on pregnancy outcomes among women undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET). However, the sample size of those trials was rather small which may weaken the quality of the evidence.
  • Ÿ           Therefore, the Pregnancy Outcomes Study in euthyroid women with Thyroid Autoimmunity after Levothyroxine (POSTAL) study was conducted in Peking University Third Hospital to evaluate whether levothyroxine treatment initiated before IVF-ET could decrease the miscarriage rate and improve the live birth rate in infertile women who tested positive for antithyroperoxidase antibody but had normal thyroid function.

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In Euthyroid Individuals, Higher Free Thyroid Levels Linked To Greater Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christine Baumgartner MD
Inselspital
Universitätsspital Bern
Bern, Switzerland
Research Fellow, Division of Hospital Medicine
UCSF

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Overt and subclinical hyperthyroidism increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, but it is unclear whether subclinical hypothyroidism, which is known to increase cardiovascular events, or thyroid function in the normal range are also associated with incident atrial fibrillation. Given the high prevalence of atrial fibrillation and its associated morbidity and mortality, identifying potentially modifiable risk factors is important. Therefore, we aimed to assess the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism or variations of thyroid function within the normal range.

Our main findings are that higher free thyroxine levels are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in euthyroid individuals, but thyroid-stimulating hormone levels within the euthyroid or subclinical hypothyroid range was not related to atrial fibrillation risk.

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People With Low Normal Thyroid Function Live Longer Than Those With High Normal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Arjola Bano, MD, MSc, DSc Researcher in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam the Netherlands

Dr. Bano

Arjola Bano, MD, MSc, DSc
Researcher in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology,
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam
the Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Thyroid function is clinically defined by the measurements of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) levels. So far, abnormal TSH and FT4 levels as well as variations within the normal range have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. However, it remains unclear whether there are differences in life span and years of life lived with and without cardiovascular disease, within the reference range of thyroid function. To investigate this, we performed a prospective study among 7785 middle-aged and elderly people with normal thyroid function. Participants were part of the Rotterdam Study, 65 years on average and 52% females. In our statistical analyses, we accounted for sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors. Over a median follow-up of 8.1 years, 789 incident cardiovascular deaths and 1357 deaths occurred. Analyses were performed separately among men and women.

Our study found differences in life expectancy within the reference range of thyroid function. At the age of 50 years, people with low-normal thyroid function lived up to 3.5 years longer than those with high-normal thyroid function. Also, people with low-normal thyroid function lived a longer life without cardiovascular disease than those with high-normal thyroid function.

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Thyroid Function Associated With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Arjola Bano, MD, DSc

PhD candidate
Departments of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition, characterized by the accumulation of lipids and fibrous elements in the arterial walls. It can progress insidiously from an asymptomatic narrowing of the arterial lumen (subclinical phase) to the clinical onset of vascular events (as coronary heart disease or stroke) and death. Despite advances in prevention and treatment, atherosclerotic diseases remain a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Therefore, identifying additional modifiable risk factors for atherosclerosis is of major importance.

So far, the role of thyroid hormone on atherosclerosis remains unclear. Moreover, a comprehensive investigation exploring the link of thyroid function with the wide spectrum of atherosclerosis, including subclinical atherosclerosis, clinical atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic mortality, within the same population is lacking.

Therefore, in a prospective study of 9231 middle-aged and elderly people, we explored the association of thyroid function with subclinical atherosclerosis (coronary artery calcification), atherosclerotic events (fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease or stroke) and atherosclerotic mortality (death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular or other atherosclerotic disease). Higher free thyroxine (FT4) levels were associated with higher risk of subclinical atherosclerosis, atherosclerotic events and atherosclerotic mortality, independently of cardiovascular risk factors.

The risk of atherosclerotic mortality increased with higher FT4 levels (HR; CI: 2.35; 1.61-3.41 per 1 ng/dl) and lower thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels (HR; CI: 0.92; 0.84-1.00 per 1 logTSH), with stronger estimates among participants with a history of atherosclerotic disease (HR; CI: 5.76; 2.79-11.89 for FT4 and 0.81; 0.69-0.95 for TSH).

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Study Fails To Support Routine Screening For Subclinical Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor, Brian Casey, M.D. Gillette Professorship of Obstetrics and Gynecology UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Casey

Professor Brian Casey, M.D.
Gillette Professorship of Obstetrics and Gynecology
UT Southwestern Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: For several decades now, subclinical thyroid disease, variously defined, has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.  In 1999, two studies are responsible for increasing interest in subclinical thyroid disease during pregnancy because it was associated with impaired neuropsychological development in the fetus.  One study showed that children born to women with the highest TSH levels had lower IQ levels.  The other showed that children of women with isolated low free thyroid hormone levels performed worse on early psychomotor developmental tests. Together, these findings led several experts and professional organizations to recommend routine screening for and treatment of subclinical thyroid disease during pregnancy.

Our study was designed to determine whether screening for either of these two diagnoses and treatment with thyroid hormone replacement during pregnancy actually improved IQ in children at 5 years of age.

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Thyroid Hormone Treatment In Pregnant Women With Subclinical Hypothyroidism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka Assistant professor of medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System Little Rock Arkansas

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka
Assistant professor of medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and
Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System
Little Rock Arkansas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Subclinical hypothyroidism, a mild thyroid dysfunction, has been associated in pregnancy with multiple adverse outcomes. Our aim was to estimate the effectiveness and safety of thyroid hormone treatment among pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Using a large national US dataset, we identified 5,405 pregnant women diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism. Of these, 843 women, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 4.8 milli-international units per liter, were treated with thyroid hormone. The remaining 4,562, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 3.3 milli-international units per liter, were not treated.

Compared with the untreated group, treated women were 38 percent less likely to experience pregnancy loss. However, they were more likely to experience a preterm delivery, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Moreover, the benefit of thyroid hormone treatment on pregnancy loss was seen only among women with higher TSH levels (4.1 to 10 mIU/L) before treatment. We also found that for women with lower levels of TSH (2.5–4.0 mIU/L), the risk of gestational hypertension was significantly higher for treated women than for untreated women.

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Thyroid Care Collaborative Improves Adoption of Thyroid Cancer Clinical Guidelines

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ilya Likhterov, MD Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Ilya Likhterov

Ilya Likhterov, MD
Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As our understanding of thyroid cancer improves, the way these patients are diagnosed and treated is changing. It is difficult for clinicians to incorporate every individual scientific study into their practice. These studies are numerous and the results can be conflicting.

To address this difficulty, organizations such as the American Thyroid Association (ATA) create summary recommendations that account for the latest research and translate it into a format that is easily usable for physicians. Such clinical practice guidelines are available not just for thyroid cancer care, but in many other fields. The difficulty however, is how to ensure that clinicians have access to the guidelines and incorporate the recommendations into their practice.

There are a number of barriers to actually using the guidelines in practice, and we attempt to identify strategies on how to overcome these.

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Even With Normal TSH, Some Patients Still Feel Hypothyroid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Antonio C. Bianco, MD, PhD Rush University Medical Center

Dr. Antonio C. Bianco

Antonio C. Bianco, MD, PhD
Rush University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The standard of care for patients with hypothyroidism is treatment with levothyroxine. The dosage of levothyroxine is adjusted for each patient with the goal of normalizing blood levels of TSH. About 15% of the patients treated this way exhibit variable degrees of residual symptoms, despite having a normal TSH level. These symptoms include difficulty losing weight, low energy and depression. However, given the subjective nature of these complains and that the blood levels of TSH are normal, many times such symptoms are dismissed by physicians as non-thyroid related.

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High and High-Normal Thyroid Levels Linked To Increased Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Layal Chaker, MD, MSc Research and Curriculum Fellow Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA

Dr. Layal Chaker

Layal Chaker, MD, MSc
PhD candidate
Department of Endocrinology and Epidemiology
Erasmus Medical Center
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The association of thyroid function with coronary heart disease is well–established but not much was known about the association of thyroid function with sudden cardiac death. We conducted the study with the hypothesis that thyroid hormone levels affect cardiovascular risk factors and therefore could also affect the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). We were surprised to see that when we control our analyses for these cardiovascular risk factors, the association of high and high-normal thyroid function with SCD remained similar, suggesting that other pathways could play a role. Thyroid hormone has different effects on the cardiovascular systems and future studies should identify which pathway could be responsible for the increased risk of sudden cardiac death with higher thyroid hormone levels. This could lead to better assessment of individual risk and identify possible prevention targets.

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Study Calls For Curbing of Excessive Imaging after Thyroid Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan Haymart, M.D. Assistant Professor Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan

Dr. Megan Haymart

Megan Haymart, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the past three decades the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen. The majority of this rise in incidence is secondary to an increase in low-risk disease. In the setting of this rise in low-risk thyroid cancer, our team noted that over time there was a dramatic rise in imaging after initial treatment for thyroid cancer. We subsequently wanted to understand the implications of this increase in imaging. Does more imaging equal improved outcomes? In this study published in BMJ, we found that this marked rise in imaging after primary treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer was associated with increased treatment for recurrence but with the exception of radioiodine scans in presumed iodine-avid disease, no clear improvement in disease specific survival.

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