Excess thyroid hormone may be associated with cognitive decline, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Thyroid hormone is very commonly prescribed to older people, with one in ten taking the medication domestically. Jennifer Mammen, an endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins and colleagues have shown that many of them are taking too much, resulting in a condition called thyrotoxicosis  as well as increased risk for cognitive disorders. 

Mammen: As people get older the rate of cognitive disorders increases and among the people in whom thyrotoxicosis had happened that percent of people who were diagnosed with dementia was higher in people without thyrotoxicosis. About 6% of 70 year olds had a diagnosis whereas among people with thyrotoxicosis 11% had a diagnosis.   :28

Mammen says the risk appears to be greatest for those younger than 75, with more study needed to more precisely pinpoint who is at the greatest risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.