Common chemical in mothers may negatively affect the IQ of their unborn children

August 5, 2014, Boston University Medical Center

In some women abnormally high levels of a common and pervasive chemical may lead to adverse effects in their offspring. The study, published recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, is the first of its kind to shed light on the possible harmful side effects of perchlorate in mothers and their children.

Using data from the Controlled Antenatal Thyroid Study (CATS) cohort, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Cardiff University studied the effect of perchlorate, an environmental contaminant found in many foods and in some drinking water supplies, and its effects on children born to mothers with above average levels of this substance in their system. They studied 487 mother-child pairs from with underactive thyroid glands and in the 50 women with the highest levels of perchlorate in their body, their had below average IQ levels when compared to other children.

"The reason people really care about perchlorate is because it is ubiquitous. It's everywhere," said Elizabeth Pearce, MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine at BUSM. "Prior studies have already shown perchlorate, at low levels, can be found in each and every one of us."

Perchlorate is a compound known to affect the thyroid gland, an organ needed to help regulate hormone levels in humans. According to Pearce previous studies have attempted to implicate this anti-thyroid activity in pregnant mothers as a possible cause of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism in newborns and children can lead to an array of unwelcome side effects, including below average intelligence.

Explore further: Active thyroid may raise risk of depression in older individuals

Related Stories

Active thyroid may raise risk of depression in older individuals

February 20, 2014
When older individuals' thyroid glands are more active than average, it may be a risk factor for depression, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology ...

Study finds few patients with newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia receive recommended thyroid screening

November 13, 2013
Despite current guidelines that recommend newly diagnosed high-cholesterol patients have a TSH blood test done to make sure they do not have hypothyroidism, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and ...

Thyroid conditions raise risk of pregnancy complications

May 29, 2013
Pregnant women who have thyroid disorders face greater risk of preterm birth and other complications that have short- and long-term consequences for the health of mother and child, according to a recent study accepted for ...

BMC conducts high rates of thyroid testing in pregnant women, study finds

June 30, 2011
A recent study completed by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) demonstrates that BMC conducts a high rate of thyroid function testing in pregnant women. The retrospective ...

Gene linked to low IQ

March 25, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Children with both a common gene variant and lower thyroid hormone levels, which occurs in approximately 4% of the population, are four times more likely to have a low IQ, according to research presented ...

Recommended for you

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.