Iodine deficiency and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) are still present in developing countries as well as in some European areas. It is well known that iodine deficiency correction prevents endemic goiter and other IDD. Iodized oil has been shown to reduce goiter prevalence and cretinism in African countries. In countries where iodine prophylaxis is performed since many years (USA, Switzerland, Scandinavian countries) IDD are dramatically reduced. One example of the efficacy of iodine prophylaxis through iodized salt was reported in a Tuscan village were urinary iodine excretion increased from 47 micrograms/l in 1981 to 130 micrograms/l in 1991. Goiter prevalence in schoolchildren dropped from 60% in 1981 to 8.1% in 1991. In the same children neuropsychological performances were evaluated showing a reduction of motor response to perceptive stimuli assessed by measurement of reaction times in children born before the beginning of iodine prophylaxis. Iodine prophylaxis has no side effects, although a transitory increase of hyperthyroidism has been reported in the past and recently in African countries. A reevaluation by the experts of the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) has pointed out that this phenomenon is not relevant with respect to the efficacy of iodine prophylaxis. In conclusion, universal iodine prophylaxis prevents endemic goiter and other IDD, without side effects.
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