Newswise — Gregory A. Brent, MD, of the Departments of Medicine and Physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, examines the interaction of iodine deficiency and chemical exposures on the thyroid.

Iodine is an essential building block of thyroid hormone. Individuals with low iodine intake are likely to be more susceptible to environmental chemicals that interfere with the ability of the thyroid gland to concentrate and utilize iodine.

Dr. Brent makes his presentation Thursday September 24 at 9 a.m. when the American Thyroid Association (ATA) holds it 80th Annual Meeting September 23-27, 2009 at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

The most well described chemical that blocks iodine from entering the thyroid is perchlorate, used in the production of rocket fuel and fireworks, and found in water supplies throughout the United States.

“The adult thyroid gland can compensate quite well for modest reductions in iodine intake and still make a normal amount of thyroid hormone," says Dr. Brent. "Pregnant women, infants and small children, though, may be more susceptible to chemicals that inhibit iodine transport into the thyroid.”

Several chemicals interfere with iodine concentration and they can accumulate from multiple sources. Adequate iodine nutrition is important to minimize the effect of these chemicals on the thyroid as efforts continue to identify the sources of contamination and reduce exposure.

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the lead organization in promoting thyroid health and understanding thyroid biology. The ATA values scientific inquiry, clinical excellence, public service, education, collaboration, and collegiality.

A non-profit medical society founded in 1923, the ATA fulfills its mission through supporting excellence and innovation in research, clinical care, education, and public health. ATA members are physicians and scientists who work to enhance the understanding of thyroid physiology and pathophysiology, improve the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases, and promote the education of physicians, patients, and the public about thyroid disorders. The official journal “Thyroid” of the ATA is published monthly. “Clinical Thyroidology” is published online monthly for the benefit of clinicians and scientists around the world.

Thyroid diseases are among the most common disorders of the endocrine system, affecting almost 13 million Americans alone. The ATA has extensive online information for patients on thyroid disease (in English and Spanish) serving the clinician as a resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the internet. To further benefit patients, the ATA publishes an online journal “Clinical Thyroidology for Patients.” The Alliance for Patient Education was formed in 2002 to offer an exchange of information between the ATA and patient education groups: ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.; the Light of Life Foundation, and the Graves’ Disease Foundation. A public forum is held each year in conjunction with the ATA annual meeting.

The 80th Annual Meeting of the ATA will be in Palm Beach, Florida, from September 23-27, 2009 at The Breakers Hotel. All registration and program information is available at We welcome your participation.

ATA 6066 Leesburg Pike, Suite 550, Falls Church, VA 22041 * (703) 998-8890 (Fax) (703) 998-8893 *

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American Thyroid Association 80th Annual Meeting