History of Thyroid Hormone

I love history. But, I have to admit that studying the history of the disease I live with was not something I did. I didn’t even think about it! At least, not at first. I will be the first to admit I followed my doctors advice. I also now know that I should have run away from him as fast as I could. But he was the top thyroid doctor in my town. And my best friend worked for the doctor who read my scan. Everyone in that office had glowing reports for his knowledge and treatment of thyroid disease.

My diagnosis was Graves Disease. My doctor told me the only treatment was take RadioActive Iodine to destroy my thyroid. Then you just take a pill and you are back to normal. Oh, and by the way, he told me he only prescribes Synthroid, its the only medication that works. I felt so bad that the thought of treating this disease so easily was a God send. However, I should have studied my history, then I would have known that Synthroid was far from the best and RAI was not my only choice.

We live and learn; this article about the history of thyroid disease and how it was treated was really interesting to me. I had no idea that they treated thyroid disease as far back as 1775. Even Leonardo Da Vinci and Mark Twain have made referenct goiters during their careers. Plus, there is evdence that the Chinese in the 6th century used sheep thyroids to treat cretins.

Several countries have made contributions to how thyroid disease is treated, with most of them using animal thyroids as replacement hormone in humans. It wasn’t until 1949, thyroxine became commercially available. However, tablets of desiccated thyroid extract remained the principle source of treatment for many years. It all changed in 1965 when TSH testing became available.

You can read the full history here:



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