Letter | Published:

Deaf-Mutism and Low Iodine Content of Water

Naturevolume 155pages7980 (1945) | Download Citation



THE association of congenital deafness or mutism with districts where endemic goitre and cretinism are prevalent is well known1–5. It is now generally accepted that endemic goitre and cretinism occur among inhabitants of areas where the iodine content of the water is low, provided no other rich source of iodine such as sea fish is utilized6. Russell Brain7 considered that many hereditary factors influence iodine utilization and that in congenital cases what is inherited is not goitre, cretinism or deaf-mutism as such, but rather some defect in iodine utilization. Hallpike8 has pointed out that congenital deafness does not necessarily involve a congenital anatomical defect, but may depend on an inherited predisposition to degeneration of certain tissues and be precipitated by biological factors, which are identifiable and subject to control.

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  1. 1

    Bircher, H., (1883), quoted by Joll, C. A., "Diseases of the Thyroid Gland" (Heinemann, London, 1932).

  2. 2

    McCarrison, R., Lancet, ii, 1275 (1908).

  3. 3

    Nager, F. R., quoted by Fischer, J., and Wolfson, L. E., "The Inner Ear" (Heinemann, London, 1943).

  4. 4

    Stott, H., and Gupta, S. P., Ind. J. Med. Res., 21, 655 (1934).

  5. 5

    Census of India, 1931.

  6. 6

    Young, M., Crabtree, M. G., and Mason, B. M., Spec. Rep. Ser. Med. Res. Coun. London, No. 217 (1936).

  7. 7

    Brain, W. Russell., Quart. J. Med., 20, 303 (1927).

  8. 8

    Hallpike, C. S., Brit. Med. Bull., 2, 119 (1944).

  9. 9

    Goitre Subcommittee, Medical Research Council, Lancet, i, 107 (1944).

  10. 10

    Stocks, P., Quart. J. Med., 21, 223 (1928).

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  1. Bedford College (University of London), Regent's Park, London

  2. Institute of Social Medicine, Oxford



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