There is no evidence to link mildly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels to an increase in mortality among the elderly, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). The findings suggest that reflexively treating mild elevations of TSH in those of advanced age is unnecessary.
TSH is a sensitive, commonly measured test to check thyroid function. TSH levels are inversely related to thyroid hormone levels – thyroid hormone levels below a set-point trigger an increase in TSH. Levels of TSH gradually increase during the aging process, which means that elderly patients are likely to be outside of standard reference ranges and could be labeled with the diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism.
"As increasing numbers of people live into their 80s and 90s, it is important to know how to manage their health, including thyroid function," said Anne R. Cappola, MD, ScM of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and lead author of the study. "Our study shows that a gradual increase in TSH occurs during healthy aging and that mild increases in TSH are not harmful in the oldest old."
The study began in 1989-1992 and examined 5,888 men and women aged 65 and older. In 2005, 843 surviving participants who had thyroid function testing were examined for changes in physical and cognitive functions. Between 1992 and 2005, participants who were not taking thyroid medication at either visit had a 13 percent increase in TSH. Older participants (mean age 85 years) with increased TSH and subclinical hypothyroidism did not have a higher mortality rate; on the contrary, data suggested that having subclinical hypothyroidism could be protective. In addition, higher levels of thyroid hormone itself were associated with a higher risk of death.
"Our research presents the first data demonstrating longitudinal changes in thyroid function in a cohort of the oldest old," said Cappola. "Our findings suggest that treating mild elevations in TSH in the elderly is unnecessary. Further studies are needed to determine the threshold levels of thyroid function that would benefit from intervention."
Other researchers working on the study include: Avantika C. Waring of the University of California at San Franscisco; Alice Arnold and Petra Buzkova of the University of Washington; Anne Newman of the University of Pittsburgh; and Calvin Hirsch of the University of California at Davis.
The article, "Longitudinal Changes in Thyroid Function in the Oldest Old and Survival: the Cardiovascular Health Study All-Stars Study," appears in the November 2012 issue of JCEM.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endo-society.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.
Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy