Representative image.

(Mahesh G/BCCL, Vijayawada)

Thyroid imbalance has now been found to be affecting even newborn babies.

A study by the neonatology department of Post Graduate Institute of Child Health (PGICH), Noida, conducted on 200 babies who were either preterm or born at nine months but were very sick, has been accepted for publication in the journal Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The babies were extremely sick and had to be admitted to the neonatal ICU (NICU).

Thyroid hormone insufficiency was found in roughly 10% of the sample neonates, according to the study. According to experts, this imbalance and deficit has a negative impact on the final result of the ailment for which the babies were admitted to the NICU. It can also increase the severity of the illness.

Furthermore, the study found that some children had a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones, which could put them at risk of developing mental retardation, if not put on thyroid hormone replacement therapy immediately.

Dr Ruchi Rai, head of PGICH’s neonatology department, said: “Of the 200 babies, 100 were premature births and the remaining 100 were born on full term but were extremely ill. These babies were admitted to our NICU within seven days of birth. As a routine at PGICH, we conduct a thyroid screening test for all admitted babies on the third or fourth day of life. We found that about 10 per cent had thyroid deficiency. These babies were at the risk of developing more severe disease, had more chances of being put on ventilator support or developing mental retardation.”

Rai emphasised that while a simple blood test on the third or fourth day of birth could pick up thyroid deficiency due to illness contracted after birth, in preterm or sick babies, it might not be enough to diagnose congenital thyroid deficiency.

“A repeat test in the third week of life is necessary. All preterm and sick babies must be evaluated,” the doctor said.

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The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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