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Endemic Goiter in Southeast Asia: New Clothes on an Old Body

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Professor V. Ramalingaswami, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, India.

New Delhi, India

Ann Intern Med. 1973;78(2):277-283. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-78-2-277
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Endemic goiter is widely prevalent in the countries of Southeast Asia; the Himalayan endemic is one of the world's most extensive and severe endemics. It is accompanied in many areas of this region by endemic cretinism, deaf-mutism, and other developmental disorders and thus constitutes a significant health problem. For many years the etiology and pathogenesis of goiter in the Himalayas had remained obscure. Studies of the problem indicate that the endemic in Southeast Asia is primarily the result of environmental iodine deficiency. The thyroid makes a series of finely balanced adjustments to chronic iodine deprivation. We have shown that the Indian endemic can be controlled successfully by the administration of physiological doses of iodine in the form of either potassium iodide or iodate added to domestic salt.





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