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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Jan;91(1):145-53. Epub 2005 Nov 1.

Neuropsychological function and symptoms in subjects with subclinical hypothyroidism and the effect of thyroxine treatment.

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Institute of Clinical Medicine (R.J., K.W.), University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway.



Our objective was to examine the relation between neuropsychological function and subclinical hypothyroidism (SHT), defined as serum TSH of 3.5-10.0 mIU/liter and normal serum free T4 and free T3 levels, and to study the effect of T4 supplementation.


A total of 89 subjects (45 males) with SHT and 154 control subjects (72 males) were recruited from a general health survey (the fifth Tromsø study). Sixty-nine of those with SHT were included in a placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study with T4 medication for 1 yr.


We used fourteen tests of cognitive function, Beck Depression Inventory, General Health Questionnaire, and a questionnaire on hypothyroid symptoms.


The mean +/- sd serum TSH in the SHT and control group were 5.57 +/- 1.68 and 1.79 +/- 0.69 mIU/liter, respectively. There were no significant differences in cognitive function and hypothyroid symptoms between the two groups, but those with SHT scored significantly better than the controls on the GHQ-30. At the end of the intervention study, serum TSH in the T4 group (n = 36) and the placebo group (n = 33) were 1.52 +/- 1.51 and 5.42 +/- 1.96 mIU/liter, respectively. T4 substitution had no effect on any of the parameters measured.


In subjects with SHT where the serum TSH level is in the 3.5-10.0 mIU/liter range, there is no neuropsychological dysfunction, and compared with healthy controls, there is no difference in symptoms related to hypothyroidism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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