The influence of etiology and treatment factors on intellectual outcome in congenital hypothyroidism

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2001 Dec;22(6):376-84. doi: 10.1097/00004703-200112000-00005.


To determine the effects of hypothyroidism and hormonal patterns on outcome, we tested 65 7- to 12-year-old children with congenital hypothyroidism using standardized tests of intelligence, neuropsychological functioning, memory, and achievement. Results were analyzed by etiology, time to thyrotropin normalization, and hormone levels at testing. Children with athyreosis scored below other etiologies on visuospatial, attention, and arithmetic indices. Children whose thyroid-stimulating hormone levels normalized by 1 to 2 months of age scored higher than later normalizers on indices of visual memory, attention, and arithmetic. Normalization of thyroid-stimulating hormone by 3 months of age was associated with better memory and learning abilities than later normalization. Thyroid hormone levels at testing were correlated with indices of sensorimotor, spatial, and language abilities. Two children with persistently elevated thyrotropin levels were not adversely affected. Present findings signify the need to establish etiology, normalize thyrotropin early, and maintain hormone levels in the normal range throughout childhood in children with congenital hypothyroidism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / blood
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Reference Values
  • Thyroid Function Tests*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / administration & dosage
  • Thyroxine / blood


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine