Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 49 S21.3 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.49.S21.3

Euthyroid: towards a euthyroid Europe

Henry Volzke


Despite the fact that iodine deficiency (ID) can easily be prevented by iodine fortification of table salt, industrial salt and cattle food, Europe belongs to the worst regions in terms of access to iodized salt and is seriously iodine deficient, resulting in the perpetuation of the single most important, preventable cause of brain damage. Up to an estimated 360 million European citizens are exposed to ID, which is not only due to variable iodine provision, it is also rooted in significant heterogeneity of prevention and monitoring activities, leading to inappropriate interventions, health inequalities and increased disease burden with substantial impact on health-care costs. A major concern remains the large number of pregnant women exposed to ID, which results in a measurable decrease in cognitive potential of their children. The effects of ID in total cause significant, preventable costs in health-care systems of affected regions. More than 30 countries contribute to the EUthyroid consortium, which is funded by the EC Horizon2020 programme. The overall aims of EUthyroid are to evaluate IDD prevention programmes in European countries, to initiate capacity building for integrated activities in Europe. Coordinated measures at national and EU level are a long-term goal, which will be worked towards by targeted communication activities of project results. EUthyroid has established a meta-platform for collaborative data collection and use. National and regional registry data are collected to gain an overview over prevalent and incident thyroid diseases and treatments in European nations. In parallel, EUthyroid improves the data quality of ID monitoring studies by providing infrastructures for training and standardization of interviews, laboratory measurements and thyroid ultrasound. All data will be used to provide a European map of iodine status and subclinical disorders and to relate the iodine status of populations to thyroid-related outcomes for the evaluation of ID prevention programmes. In addition, thyroglobulin, a novel and promising biomarker for the iodine status will be evaluated using biomaterials collected in ID monitoring studies and three mother-child cohorts from regions with different iodine status. The latter cohorts will investigate the important association between the iodine status in pregnant women and the neurocognitive function in their children. Combining findings from all studies, health-economic analyses will be conducted to investigate benefits and harms as well as cost-effectiveness of IDD prevention. Potential barriers against harmonized IDD prevention and monitoring programmes will be explored by collecting information from national and European ministries.

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