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Title: Iodine status in UK pregnant women and its implications
Author: Bath, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 7297
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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Iodine, through thyroid hormones, is required for fetal brain development during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency was historically common in the UK and was eradicated, not by the usual practice of an iodised-salt programme, but through an adventitious increase in milk-iodine concentration. There is a dearth of information on iodine status and food sources of iodine in the UK which this thesis has endeavoured to address through a series of studies. The thesis has highlighted several causes for concern: (1) The median urinary-iodine concentration in pregnant women in Surrey and Oxford (85. 3 and 42. 5 μg/L respectively) is indicative of iodine deficiency; (2) higher iodine status was associated with use of an iodine-containing supplement and the major dietary predictor of iodine status (assessed through a food-frequency questionnaire) was milk and dairy produce. A study of retail milk revealed organic milk to have an iodine concentration 42% lower than that of conventional milk and is thus a potential threat to iodine status; (3) in contrast to other countries worldwide, iodised salt availability is low in the UK and fewer than 20% of supermarket shoppers have iodised salt available to purchase; thus iodised salt is not likely to contribute to UK iodine status; (4) 15% of pregnant women in Oxford had a low free-thyroxine concentration which may pose a threat to the developing fetal brain and finally; (5) iodine deficiency, as assessed in stored-urine samples of a UK prospective cohort study was associated with adverse effects on neurological development; children of iodine-deficient women had a higher risk of low IQ at age 8 (OR 1. 58, 95% Cl 1. 09-2. 29) and poorer reading accuracy scores at age 9 (OR 1. 83, 95% Cl 1. 22-2. 74), even after adjustment for potential confounders. The findings suggest that a UK public-health policy is required to minimise the adverse effects of iodine deficiency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available