The Iranian government has managed to increase the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of an estimated 70 million children since about 30 years ago by adding iodine to the salt they consumed, a senior academic says.
Dr. Fereydoun Azizi, the Chairperson of the Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, says the Islamic Republic began to add iodine to salt in 1989, and since then, the IQ of 70 million children has been boosted.
IQ is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.
According to Azizi, estimates show the program has also managed to prevent the emergence of 30 million cases of goitre and about 15 million goitre surgeries so far.
Speaking to IRNA, he said if families use sea salt instead of iodized salt, they will likely suffer from the symptoms of iodine shortage which could lead to goitre and hamper their physical and mental growths.
6% of Iranian Students Suffering from Goitre
Azizi also said the number of Iranian school students suffering from goitre has decreased from 68 percent in 1987 to only 6 percent in the current year.
A goitre, or goitre, is a swelling in the neck resulting from an enlarged thyroid gland. It is associated with a thyroid that is not functioning properly. The thyroid gland, or simply the thyroid, is an endocrine gland in the neck producing two main hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
The hormones created by thyroid circulate in the body along with the blood and plays some key roles in controlling metabolism. Worldwide, over 90% of goitre cases are caused by iodine deficiency. The term is from the Latin gutteria.
Most goitres are of a benign nature. Some of the symptoms of the disease are as follows: swollen throat, sore throat, swallowing problem, cough, fatigue, breathing disorder, irregular heartbeat, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), excessive sweating, heat sensitivity, hair loss, cold intolerance, constipation, temper change and weight gain.
Azizi cited goiter as one of the main diseases caused by iodine shortage and added since 1989, the government has begun to massively distribute iodized salt among people, decreasing the number of goiter cases significantly.
He went on to say that in addition to goiter, iodine shortage can also hamper the physical and mental progress of a person creating some neurotic problems for them.
Need for Iodine Doubles during Pregnancy
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dr. Azizi referred to the growing need for iodine during pregnancy and said the need doubles during the period; therefore, he said, pregnant women should take this issue seriously.
“We are trying to meet the needs through some comprehensive plans including Idophilic across the country,” he said.
He said today most provinces across Iran enjoy high capacities for diagnosing guitre and concluded, unlike in the past, patients suffering from the disease don’t need to travel to big cities like Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan for treatment any more.