ESPE Abstracts (2015) 84 P-1-129

Intelligence and Behaviour in Children and Adolescents with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Claudia Boettchera, Burkhard Brosigb, Henriette Windhausc, Stefan A Wudya & Andreas Hahnc


aPaediatric Endocrinology & Diabetology, Centre of Child and Adolescent Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; bPsychoanalytic Family Therapy, Centre of Child and Adolescent Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; cDepartment of Child Neurology, Centre of Child and Adolescent Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany


Background: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is an autoimmune-mediated disorder, and is the most common cause of thyroid disease and acquired hypothyroidism in children and adolescents. In adults with HT, concentration problems, memory disorders and an increased rate of depression have been reported.

Objective and hypotheses: To investigate, whether children and adolescents with HT have more behaviour and emotional problems, and/or lower intelligence than healthy subjects.

Method: Psychometric testing was performed in 31 patients with HT (mean age 14.9, range 8.0–18.0 years) recruited via our paediatric-endocrine clinics and in 28 healthy controls (mean age 14.3, range 10.0–18.0 years). Intelligence was assessed by the Cultural-Fair-Intelligence-Test (CFT-20-R), physical complaints by the Gießener complaint questionnaire (GBBKJ), emotion regulation by the Toronto-Alexithymia-Scale (TAS26) and behavioural problems by the child-behaviour-checklist (CBCL). Student’s t-test was used to compare the findings. In addition, we determined serum antibodies against thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin in both groups and TSH and fT4 in HT patients.

Results: Age, gender, and parental educational differed not between both groups. All patients showed fT4 values within the age-appropriate normal range. 19 patients had normal TSH values, while seven had values marginally above, and five slightly below the normal range. No thyroid antibodies were found in the controls. HT patients had more problems concerning emotion regulation and showed increased CBCL scores (P<0.05 each). HT patients had also lower intelligence quotients and more family conflicts, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. As for physical complaints no difference between patients and controls could be detected.

Conclusion: Children/adolescents with HT show especially more behavioural problems than healthy subjects of the same age, but do not show more intellectual problems. Further investigations should clarify whether the socio-emotional problems are specifically related to HT, or are due to affection by a chronic disease per se.

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