Letter | Published:

Deaf-Mutism and Low Iodine Content of Water

Nature volume 155, pages 7980 (20 January 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.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , (1883), quoted by , "Diseases of the Thyroid Gland" (Heinemann, London, 1932).

  2. 2.

    , Lancet, ii, 1275 (1908).

  3. 3.

    , quoted by , and , "The Inner Ear" (Heinemann, London, 1943).

  4. 4.

    , and , Ind. J. Med. Res., 21, 655 (1934).

  5. 5.

    Census of India, 1931.

  6. 6.

    , , and , Spec. Rep. Ser. Med. Res. Coun. London, No. 217 (1936).

  7. 7.

    , Quart. J. Med., 20, 303 (1927).

  8. 8.

    , Brit. Med. Bull., 2, 119 (1944).

  9. 9.

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

  10. 10.

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

Download references

Author information


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

  2. Institute of Social Medicine, Oxford. Nov. 27.



  1. Search for MARGARET M. MURRAY in:

  2. Search for DAGMAR C. WILSON in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.