Excerpted from: "First European map on iodine deficiency" by CORDIS. Published in Medical Xpress on October 10, 2018.
Harmonisation of the collective approaches that ensure sufficient iodine intake in European countries is imperative for the prevention of ID disorders. The EUthyroid project established a joint European database from registry-based outcome data related to iodine status in Europe.
The EUthyroid project supported the harmonisation of studies via the collection of quantitative information on the socio-economic status of adults and children. In addition, an instructional video and guide on thyroid ultrasound examination and a web-based training and certification tool for ultrasound observations were also applied.
The team developed a dried blood spot ELISA assay to cross-validate the reference range of the major thyroid hormone binding protein thyroglobulin for pregnant women and women of reproductive age. "The main problem that we encountered was the extreme heterogeneity of registry data, where information on diseases and treatments were coded. Despite this, we achieved harmonisation of data from three major European birth cohort studies in the Netherlands, UK and Spain into one large dataset," says Professor Henry Völzke, project coordinator. "This provided a proof-of-principle study on the effects of thyroid function on child IQ and the risk of behavioural disorders in over 9 500 mothers and their children, and enabled us to study the effect of low maternal iodine on neurodevelopment," he continues.
EUthyroid goes public
Project members employed a combined dissemination strategy by alerting policy makers, stakeholders and the general public using a range of media. This included project websites, scientific publications, national press, television and social media.
"We were able to endorse the Krakow Declaration on Iodine in 2018, the first official declaration that presented recommendations towards preventing ID disorders and securing sufficient iodine status in Europe," states Professor Völzke. This document comprised three major sections that were involved in the methodology, control and support of ID prevention. The prevention of ID disorders and thyroid diseases was thus addressed from a political perspective.
EUthyroid has conducted the most in-depth analysis of ID and provided the first European network for collection and dissemination of ID-related information across Europe. The expectation is that EUthyroid infrastructure will continue to pave the way towards Europe becoming the benchmark for ID prevention worldwide.