PurposeStable iodine prophylaxis helps prevent childhood thyroid cancer in nuclear emergencies; however, there is limited information on its effect on thyroid function. This study aimed to examine thyroid function and autoimmunity among children and adolescents that took stable iodine after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.
MethodsFor this observational study, data were obtained from children and adolescents that underwent thyroid cancer screening at Hirata Central Hospital from April 2012 to March 2018. Participant characteristics, including possible hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, were compared between the prophylaxis and no-prophylaxis groups. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess for possible hypothyroidism, autoantibodies positive, and hyperthyroidism.
ResultsA total of 1,225 participants with stable iodine prophylaxis and 3,946 without prophylaxis were enrolled. Of those participants, blood samples were available for 144 and 1,201 participants in the prophylaxis and no-prophylaxis groups, respectively. There were 17 (11.8%) and 146 cases (12.2%) of possible hypothyroidism or autoantibodies positive cases in the prophylaxis and no-prophylaxis groups, respectively, and there were no cases and 3 cases (0.2%) of possible hyperthyroidism in those two groups, respectively. Multivariable analysis for possible hypothyroidism revealed no association between stable iodine intake and possible hypothyroidism or autoantibodies positive [odds ratio 0.716 (95% confidence interval 0.399-1.284)] (p = 0.262). We did not perform multivariable analysis for hyperthyroidism due to the limited number of cases.
ConclusionSignificant adverse effects of stable iodine intake on thyroid function were not observed among children and adolescents 7 years after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.