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  1. JANET RENNIE, Deputy Editor

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Extra iodine does not boost thyroid hormone in Liverpudlian preterm babies

Neonatal “sick thyroid” syndrome has perplexed neonatologists since it was recognised in the late 1970s. Apart from one very early study by Schonberger et al (Eur J Pediatr1981;135:245–53) showing a reduction in mortality when thyroxine was replaced, no benefits of giving thyroxine to preterm babies have been shown. The neonatal team in Liverpool decided to investigate the contribution of dietary iodine to thyroid function (page F86). Preterm babies have as much difficulty keeping pace with their iodine requirements as they do with other constituents of their diet, and most preterm formulas (and preterm breast milk) contain less iodine than some authorities recommend. Readers of this column will remember that in May this year we carried an article reminding readers of the potential dangers of large doses of iodine containing radio-opaque dyes (Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2000; …

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