Thyroid hormones are crucial for the development of the brain. They ensure that different cell types originate in the brain at the right moment, move to the right place, and make the right connections.
Researchers from KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) and King’s College London find that “when transports of these hormones are not functioning properly, the consequences for the development of the cerebellum or ‘the little brain’ are very serious…Until the thyroid is fully developed, a fetus depends on the mother’s hormones. If the mother-to-be doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, this has a negative impact on the brain development of the fetus from a very early stage.”
The study results show that thyroid hormones are essential for embryonic development right from the start. “The earlier things go wrong, the harder it is to repair the damage after birth.” Newborns are screened for thyroid problems with the heel prick. The researchers demonstrate that it is better to test the expectant mothers as early as possible.