Role of Thyroid Hormones in Autism & Asperger's:
Living on a university campus for many years, it is common knowledge that the thyroid, a
gland hanging in the front of the neck could present a problem to many women and few men.
Young adult women with protruding eyeballs and bitchy attitudes are known to have
hyperthyroid or overactivity of the thyroid gland. More mature women gaining weight
inexplicably and feeling cold are said to have hypothyroid or underactivity of the thyroid gland.
No one ever mentioned or even alluded to the place of children in this equation. Like a trusting
young man, I went about my business believing that thyroid problems are specific to adults,
mostly women. One day as a third year medical student, I passed through a pediatric rotation.
Out of curiosity, I found out that all healthy newborns are subjected to a battery of tests in the
first 24 hours of their life. The tests performed vary from state to state. However the thyroid
test is a fixture in all states. To my shock, I asked the resident in charge about the purpose of
including a thyroid test for infants. She said, children with thyroid problems lag behind on
mental development and may grow up with IQ (intelligent quotient) in the lowest 10th
Needless to say I was astonished at the selectivity of information flow from the medical
authorities. But then I was on a mission to find out more about this hidden “secret” of
medicine. What I found out is likely to shock you too. The thyroid hormone is primarily a
developmental hormone. Like growth hormone, its most crucial importance is early in life. Like
growth hormone it is much less important in adulthood. In fact, there is ample evidence that in
adults, supplementing with thyroid hormones can accelerate the cell life-cycle.
Continued on next page,
COPYRIGHT 2010 RAMI J SERHAN, MD