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Losing Our MindsEffects of Chemical Pollution on the Intellectual Capacity and Mental Health of Future Generations$
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Barbara Demeneix

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917518.001.0001

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Thyroid Hormone, Iodine, Selenium, and Mercury

Thyroid Hormone, Iodine, Selenium, and Mercury

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter 2 Thyroid Hormone, Iodine, Selenium, and Mercury
Source:
Losing Our Minds
Author(s):

Barbara Demeneix

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917518.003.0002

Iodine and selenium are required for the production and activation of thyroid hormone (TH). As TH is needed for brain development, iodine and selenium are required in the foetus and child and for normal brain growth. Iodine is needed to synthesise TH. Selenium is a constituent of the deiodinase enzyme that activates TH. A common environmental pollutant, mercury, interferes with selenium-based mechanisms and can therefore interfere with TH signalling by inhibiting deiodinase action. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and infants have particularly high requirements for TH and for iodine and selenium. TH deficiency during development causes intellectual disability. Extreme lack of iodine, and hence lack of TH, causes a particularly severe form known as cretinism. However, even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the child's cognitive development.

Keywords:   cretinism, iodine, thyroid hormone

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