University of Oulu

Päkkilä F, Männistö T, Hartikainen A-L and Suvanto E (2018) Maternal Thyroid Function During Pregnancy and the Child’s Linguistic and Sensory Development in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986. Front. Endocrinol. 9:127. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00127

Maternal thyroid function during pregnancy and the child’s linguistic and sensory development in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986

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Author: Päkkilä, Fanni1,2,3,4,5; Männistö, Tuija5,6,7,8; Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa1,2,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Oulu
2Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oulu University Hospital
3Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu
4Department of Children, Young People, and Families, National Institute for Health and Welfare
5Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu
6Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare
7Northern Finland Laboratory Center Nordlab, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu
8Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-05-14


Background: Maternal hypothyroidism and hypothyroxinemia are associated with poor neuropsychological development in children. Previous research is lacking on whether maternal thyroid dysfunction affects sensory and linguistic development in childhood.

Methods: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 included all births within a year (9,362 women, 9,479 children) from the two northernmost Finnish provinces. Maternal serum samples (n = 5,791) were obtained in early pregnancy and analyzed for TSH, free T4, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Abs). Five thousand three hundred and ninety-one parents evaluated their child’s sensory and linguistic development at 7 years old via a questionnaire (excluding children with an intelligence quotient ≤85). The prevalence of sensory and linguistic impairments was compared between mothers with and without thyroid dysfunction.

Results: There were no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of sensory or linguistic impairment between children of mothers with and without thyroid dysfunction. Children of hypothyroid and hypothyroxinemic mothers had an increased prevalence of vision impairment compared with those of euthyroid mothers (10.8 and 11.7%, respectively, versus 6.5%), but the difference was not significant. All results remained similar after excluding TPO-Ab-positive mothers and premature children.

Conclusion: We did not find an association between maternal thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy and sensory and linguistic development impairment in childhood. A somewhat higher prevalence of vision impairment was seen in children of hypothyroid and hypothyroxinemic mothers, which merits further research.

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Series: Frontiers in endocrinology
ISSN: 1664-2392
ISSN-E: 1664-2392
ISSN-L: 1664-2392
Volume: 9
Article number: 127
DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00127
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: This work was supported in part by grants from the Academy of Finland, the Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation (Oulu, Finland), the Jalmari and Foundation (Finland), the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District (Finland), the Finnish Medical Foundation, and the Finnish Medical Association of Clinical Chemistry.
Copyright information: Copyright © 2018 Päkkilä, Männistö, Hartikainen and Suvanto. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.