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G48 IODINE SUPPLEMENTATION IMPROVES COGNITION IN IODINE DEFICIENT SCHOOL CHILDREN IN ALBANIA: A RANDOMISED, CONTROLLED, DOUBLE BLIND STUDY

M. B. Zimmermann1, K. Connolly2, M. Bozo3, J. Bridson4, F. Rohner1, L. Grimci5.1Laboratory for Human Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland; 2Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK; 3The Ministry of Health, Tirana, Albania; 4Child Advocacy International, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, UK; 5Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, Tirana, Albania

Aims: Our aim was to determine if providing iodised oil to iodine deficient children would affect their cognitive and motor performance.

Methods: In a double blind intervention trial, 10–12 year old children (n = 310) in rural primary schools in south eastern Albania were randomised to receive either 400 mg of iodine as oral iodised oil or placebo. Urinary iodine concentration (UI), thyrotropin (TSH), total thyroxine (TT4), and thyroid gland volume by ultrasound were measured. The children were given a battery of seven cognitive and motor tests which included measures of information processing, working memory, visual problem solving, visual search, and fine motor skills. Biochemical and psychological tests were repeated after 24 weeks.

Results: At baseline, the children had a median UI of 43 μg/l, 87% were goitrous, and nearly one third had low levels of circulating TT4. Treatment with iodine markedly improved iodine and thyroid status: at 24 weeks, median UI in the treated group was 172 μg/l, mean TT4 increased ≈40%, and the prevalence of hypothyroxinemia was <1%. Compared to placebo, iodine treatment significantly improved performance on four out of seven tests: rapid target marking, symbol search, rapid naming, and Raven’s Matrices (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that information processing, fine motor skills, and visual problem solving are improved by iodine repletion in moderately iodine deficient school age children. The results are generalisable in that the degree of …

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