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Thyroid Cheers and Jeers: 2012 Edition

A Look Back at the Year in Thyroid News


Updated June 02, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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There have been a number of developments in 2012 in the thyroid world. Join me in this look at who gets my cheers -- and who gets my jeers - as we recap the past year in thyroid disease.

Cheers - Thyroid Researchers

Cheers in 2012 go to the National Institutes of Health/Walter Reed, which is running clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of natural desiccated thyroid, comparing it to levothyroxine, for treatment of primary hypothyroidism. While the trials are open only to those active and retired military and families eligible to use Walter Reed's medical services, it's a double-blind, crossover trial from NIH, and it's one of the first times natural desiccated thyroid is being evaluated by a respectable medical authority. For more information, read Clinical Trial to Compare Natural Desiccated Thyroid to Levothyroxine.

Cheers also go to the researchers who have been studying the effects of bisphenol-A (BPA) on the thyroid, and reported this year onthe negative effect of BPA on the thyroid glands of pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Jeers: Novo Nordisk and Anthony Weetman

Jeers in 2012 go to drug company Novo Nordisk, which awarded Anthony Weetman, a University of Sheffield Professor of Endocrinology, the 2012 Jacobæus Prize. According to Novo Nordisk, Weetman "is awarded the prize for his more than 40 years of research in the field of autoimmune and endocrine diseases which include a number of key publications. Amongst his most important contributions is having provided a greater understanding of the basic mechanisms behind the development of autoimmune diseases in general and thyroid diseases in particular." (You can read the press release here.)

This is the same Dr. Tony Weetman whose "greater understanding" led him to write a derogatory, anti-patient editorial in March of 2006 in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, titled "Whose Thyroid Hormone Replacement is it Anyway?" In that diatribe, Weetman asserted that patients who have "normal thyroid function tests" but insist they should be treated for multiple thyroid symptoms actually have "somatoform disorders." ("Somatoform disorders" is medicalspeak for hypochondria.)

My response, Whose Health is It Anyway, Tony? explained how and why Weetman's hypotheses about thyroid patients and thyroid disease in general are so wrong. Also read the ThyroidChange group's protest letter to Novo Nordisk.

Cheers AND Jeers - New Hypothyroidism Guidelines

Cheers -- along with jeers -- go to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the American Thyroid Association (ATA) task force that produced the new Hypothyroidism Guidelines published in 2012. While it is refreshing to see hypothyroidism covered in depth, the numerous contradictions and controversies in the Hypothyroidism Guidelines do little to clarify key issues for patients and practitioners. Of particular concern is the Guidelines' overemphasis on Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) tests, promotion of levothyroxine and disparagement of T3 and natural thyroid drugs, and definition of "subclinical hypothyroidism" as TSH is less than 10 mIU/L. The task force needs to go back to the drawing board.

Jeers - Experts Who Declared World Trade Center Site Safe

Jeers go to the "experts" who declared the World Trade Center site safe in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. In 2012, research found that the rescue and recovery workers who were exposed to the dust, debris, and fumes at the site after September 11, 2011 have a significantly increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Cheers - The Tireless Thyroid Bloggers

Cheers in 2012 go to the tireless and informative thyroid bloggers, including Dana Trentini -- aka, Hypothyroid Mom, Elaine Moore, the UK's Robert Chapman - aka HypoMan, Carol Gray, aka, Crazy Thyroid Lady, and the amazing DearThyroid blog.

Cheers - Thyroid Advocates, Media and Doctors on Twitter

Cheers to the many tireless thyroid advocates and doctors who've used Twitter to raise thyroid awareness and share information. From Endocrine Today, to Dr. Sara Gottfried, to HypothyroidMom, the thyroid information on Twitter has never been better.

Jeers - RealThyroid, Cyberstalking Criminal Hiding Behind Anonymous Twitter Account

Speaking of Twitter, a special "jeer" goes to a disturbed, "anonymous" stalker on Twitter who goes by the oxymoronic name "RealThyroid." RealThyroid is obsessed with stalking me, Gena Lee Nolin, other thyroid advocates, members of the media, and thyroid doctors with whom he vehemently disagrees. He also seems to have some especially disturbing issues with women with thyroid disease, referring to patients as "Hypo Hussies" and "Hashi Hags," and talking pornographically about some of his stalking victims in his Tweets.
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