A new research study suggests that thyroid testing may not be needed for children who suffer from different psychiatric disorders. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children recently teamed up to perform this study, which focused on the abnormal thyroid function in children who suffer from severe mood and anxiety disorders.
According to Science Daily, this particular study happens to be the biggest study in existence dealing with youth, and has already proven to help mental health professionals gain a better understanding of what are the predictors of abnormal thyroid function (i.e. weight gain and family history). Furthermore, the study will help medical professionals to efficiently develop treatments and prescribe medications for children.
Marissa Luft is a third-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati and worked as a lead author on the study. Luft said, "I was interested in devising this study because I wanted to better understand any relationship between the physical illness and mood disorder."
Luft's mentor, Jeffrey Strawn, MD, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine and director of UC's Anxiety Disorders Research Program, said that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that medical professionals take into consideration the fact that hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may take place when assessing anxious or depressed children. Strawn went on to explain that this is because some thyroid conditions have been known to produce symptoms that are in line with anxiety and depressive symptoms.
"However, until this study, we had limited evidence as to whether routine screening with a laboratory test was the best approach to screen for thyroid disease in kids with anxiety and depression," said Strawn, who also authored the study.
The thyroid gland is linked closely to brain functions and helps regulated lots of other systems within the body besides metabolism. An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can lead to anxiety, weight loss, decreased appetite and poor concentration. An under active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) typically causes sleepiness, slower motor functions, increase in appetite, weight gain, and symptoms of depression as well as poor concentration. Needless to say, this study will be quite helpful for children.