The thyroid is a tiny gland that secretes hormones located in the throat area. Thyroid is crucial for energy in every cell in the body and for normal brain development in utero and especially during the first few years of life. Irregularities in either of the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, can affect behaviors, the functioning of the nervous system and cognitive development. Raffael Kellman, MD has found that 75% of ASD children had undetected thyroid problems. As many as 7 out of 10 had an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). He found a decrease in the conversion from T4 to T3 and an increase of the inflammation markers in the immune system due to the production of immune autoantibodies which suppressed TSH production. He also found high cortisol levels due to the extreme stress of ASD children which also decreased TSH production. Routine measuring of the thyroid by taking the body temperature or measuring the blood TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T3, and T4 have been found not to consistently detect problems and abnormal levels in the thyroid. Instead, the TRH (Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone) Stimulation test stimulates the pituitary gland to produce TSH which stimulates the thyroid and produces thyroid hormones. The TRH test has a much more accurate assessment of what is going on with the thyroid. Dr. Kellman has found that by treating the thyroid hormones ASD children can improve language, cognition, hyperactivity, motor function, socialization and gastrointestinal issues.
Possible Association of Hypothyroidism and Autism
Description: Severe hypothyroidism in mothers is associated with possible autism in babies.
Autism Four Times Likelier When Mother’s Thyroid is Weakened
Description: Pregnant women who don’t make nearly enough thyroid hormone are nearly 4 times likelier to produce autistic children than healthy women.
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Forum/Blog Name: Sharing Mom
Description: This Facebook group is focused on healing the gut, boosting brain power and living well with autism and other disorders. Members are encouraged to share information, including that regarding the connection between autism and the thyroid.
Forum/Blog Name: Maternal Thyroid Dysfunction and Autism or ADHD
Description: This blog talks about the findings of maternal thyroid dysfunction and the correlation between maternal hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid function) and an increased risk of autism diagnosis of the offspring.
Forum/Blog Name: Autism-Thyroid 2
Description: Welcome to Autism-Thyroid2, where we discuss the relationship between thyroid dysfunction and autism spectrum disorders (including PDD).
Forum/Blog Name: Autism and Thyroid Blog
Description: Parents ask Dr. Jim Sears questions and he responds.