Reduced maternal thyroid hormone concentrations during pregnancy can adversely affect fetal neurological development. In the context of national iodine supplementation programmes, concern has been expressed over the theoretical possibility that iodine supplementation during pregnancy might adversely affect fetal development as a result of maternal thyroid inhibition from the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. In a double blind controlled trial in five villages in Papua New Guinea, several measures of motor and cognitive function showed no significant differences at either age 11 or 15 years between those children whose mothers had received supplementary iodine during pregnancy and the control children whose mothers had received the placebo.
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