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1.  Maternal urinary iodine concentration in pregnancy and children's cognition: results from a population-based birth cohort in an iodine-sufficient area 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e005520.
Reports from populations with an insufficient iodine intake suggest that children of mothers with mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy are at risk for cognitive impairments. However, it is unknown whether, even in iodine-sufficient areas, low levels of iodine intake occur that influence cognitive development in the offspring. This study investigated the association between maternal low urinary iodine concentration (UIC) in pregnancy and children's cognition in a population-based sample from a country with an optimal iodine status (the Netherlands).
Setting and participants
In 1525 mother–child pairs in a Dutch multiethnic birth cohort, we investigated the relation between maternal UIC<150 μg/g creatinine, assessed <18 weeks gestation and children's cognition.
Outcomes measures
Non-verbal IQ and language comprehension were assessed during a visit to the research centre using Dutch test batteries when the children were 6 years.
In total, 188 (12.3%) pregnant women had UIC<150 μg/g creatinine, with a median UIC equal to 119.3 μg/g creatinine. The median UIC in the group with UIC>150 μg/g creatinine was 322.9 μg/g and in the whole sample 296.5 μg/g creatinine. There was a univariate association between maternal low UIC and children's suboptimum non-verbal IQ (unadjusted OR=1.44, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.02). However, after adjustment for confounders, maternal low UIC was not associated with children's non-verbal IQ (adjusted OR=1.33, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.93). There was no relation between maternal UIC in early pregnancy and children's language comprehension at 6 years.
The lack of a clear association between maternal low UIC and children's cognition probably reflects that low levels of iodine were not frequent and severe enough to affect neurodevelopment. This may result from the Dutch iodine fortification policy, which allows iodised salt to be added to almost all processed food and emphasises the monitoring of iodine intake in the population.
PMCID: PMC4067856  PMID: 24928597
2.  Maternal Thyroid Autoimmunity During Pregnancy and the Risk of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems in Children: The Generation R Study 
Thyroid  2012;22(2):178-186.
Maternal thyroid status and autoimmunity during pregnancy have been associated with impaired development of the offspring in animal and human studies. Our objective was to examine whether elevated titers of maternal thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) in early pregnancy increased the risk of cognitive impairment and problem behavior in preschool children. Second, we aimed at exploring to what extent any effect on child behavior was mediated by maternal thyroid parameters during pregnancy.
In the Generation R Study, a population-based cohort of 3139 children and their mothers, we measured maternal thyroid parameters (thyrotropin [TSH], free Thyroxine, and TPOAbs) at 13.5±1.8 weeks of gestation. Children's verbal and nonverbal cognitive functioning was measured at 2.5 years using the Language Development Survey and the Parent Report of Children Abilities. At 3 years, children's behavior was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist.
Elevated titers of TPOAbs during pregnancy did not predict the verbal and nonverbal cognitive functioning of the children. However, elevated titers of TPOAbs in mothers were associated with externalizing problems in children (odds ratio [OR]=1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.17–2.29, p=0.004). In particular, children of TPOAb-positive mothers were at a higher risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity problems (OR=1.77, 95% CI: 1.15–2.72, p=0.01). To explore whether the effect of maternal TPOAbs on child problem behavior was mediated by maternal thyroid parameters, we added maternal TSH to the model. After correcting for TSH, the effect of TPOAbs on externalizing problems was attenuated slightly but remained significant (OR=1.56, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.14, p=0.005).
Our findings imply that the elevated titers of TPOAbs during pregnancy impact children's risk of problem behavior, in particular, attention deficit/hyperactivity. The observed effect is only partially explained by maternal TSH levels. These findings may point to a specific mechanism of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children. Nevertheless, we can only speculate about public health implication of the study, as there is no specific treatment for TPOAb-positive pregnant women with normal thyroid function. Further investigation is needed to explore whether TPOAb-positive pregnant women and their children can benefit from close monitoring and early detection of developmental delay in populations at risk.
PMCID: PMC3271370  PMID: 22175242
3.  Amphetamine use and its associated factors in body builders: a study from Tehran, Iran 
Epidemiological studies on all types of illicit drug use among athletes are essential for both the sport community and drug control achievements. Here, we investigated the prevalence and associated factors of amphetamine use in body builders in Tehran, Iran, 2007.
Material and methods
This study is a secondary analysis of a substance use survey done in 103 randomly selected gymnasia in Tehran (capital city of Iran). The survey was conducted from November 2007 to January 2008 and included 843 randomly selected bodybuilders (aged 40 years or less). By interviews via questionnaires the following data were obtained: age, job, marital status, education level, housing status, average monthly family income, number of family members, gymnasium area (m2), number of trainers, number of gymnasium members, initiation time (months), weekly duration of the sporting activity (h), monthly cost of the sporting activity, purpose of participating in sporting activity, and history of anabolic steroid and amphetamine use.
One hundred twenty (13.3%) body builders reported a history of amphetamine use. According to the results of regression analysis, being married (risk ratio – RR = 0.540), and participating in body building to enhance self-esteem (RR = 0.423) or to enhance sport performance (RR = 0.545) had protective effects on amphetamine use. However, having university qualifications (RR = 1.843), using anabolic steroids (RR = 1.803) and participating in sport to maintain fitness (RR = 2.472) were linked to increased risk of amphetamine use.
Well-educated bodybuilders were more likely to use amphetamines, and why this is so needs to be discovered. If further studies show that they are not aware of the dangers associated with amphetamine use, providing them with information should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3361051  PMID: 22662012
amphetamines; athletes; sports; bodybuilders
4.  Cavernous hemangioma of the liver: factors affecting disease progression in general hepatology practice 
Although for asymptomatic hepatic hemangiomas, conservative management is generally recommended, factors affecting disease course are still not very well understood.
To determine disease characteristics of cavernous hemangioma and factors affecting its progression in patients from a general hepatology clinic in Tehran, Iran.
We reviewed medical records of 198 patients with cavernous hemangioma of the liver visiting a large private hepatology clinic in Tehran from 1997 to 2007. Of a total of 198 cases, 129 could be followed up for a period of 3.2±2.5 years, and 80 of these had 1 to 5 repeat sonographies.
Patients were between 27 and 84 years old (mean age 44.3±10.9), and 131 (66.2%) were female. Thirty-six patients (18.2%) had giant hemangiomas. Abdominal pain was the primary reason for evaluation in 100 (50.5%) patients. Abdominal pain at the beginning of follow-up was significantly associated with having irritable bowel syndrome (OR=8.3; 95%CI: 3.1-28.7) or other GI diseases (OR=3.9; 95%CI: 2.6-10.2), but not with hemangioma size, number or location. During follow-up, having a single giant lesion at the time of diagnosis, adjusted for age, sex and presence of IBS, was a strong predictor of persistent pain during follow-up (OR=11.1; 95%CI: 3.2-38.6). In repeat sonographies, 35% showed increased size, which was significantly associated only with having a single lesion (p=0.04).
Many symptoms in hepatic hemangioma are attributable to accompanying GI diseases. Patients with a single giant lesion are more likely to have persistent pain, and single lesions are more likely to grow in size.
PMCID: PMC3076672  PMID: 21383624
liver; hemangioma; ultrasonography
5.  Is there a gender difference in associates of adolescents’ lifetime illicit drug use in Tehran, Iran? 
Information regarding gender differences in drug use of adolescents is essential for designing gender-specific drug prevention policies. This study was conducted in high school students in Tehran, Iran, in 2007. Here, we report the gender differences in lifetime prevalence as well as psychosocial associates of drug use.
Material and methods
This was a gender analysis of the data collected in a drug use survey conducted in a random sample of high school adolescents (573 boys and 551 girls) in Tehran, Iran, 2007. Demographic characteristics, parental and peers’ substance use, school performance, religious beliefs, attachment, self-esteem and emotional intelligence (EI) were entered in logistic regression analyses to predict the lifetime illicit drug use in boy and girls, separately.
Boys were more likely to report lifetime illicit drug use than girls (10.1% vs. 6.4%, p = 0.023). Differences in the risk profile associated with lifetime illicit drug use by gender included history of substance use in the family, higher score of attachment, and having an employed mother as predictors of substance use in boys, but not girls.
Understanding this gender difference in predictors of lifetime use of illicit drugs in high school adolescents facilitates the design of gender-sensitive drug use preventive programmes. It seems that family variables may have more value in prevention of illicit drug use in male adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3282519  PMID: 22371778
adolescents; substance use; predictors; gender

Results 1-5 (5)