"Recognizing the disease early is the key in the treatment of congenital hypothyroidism," HOD, Endocrinology Department of the SSKM Medical College and Hospital, Dr Subhankar Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury cited an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study which showed that the disease affects one in 1,172 babies.
Babies born with congenital hypothyroidism appear normal during birth even if there is complete lack of development of the thyroid gland, mainly because of a small amount of thyroid hormone (T4) from the mother is transferred to the baby during pregnancy.
In Congenital Hypothyroidism, the baby suffers from mental retardation and improper growth but an early detection and quick treatment would be able to help it with normal physical and neurological growth.

In fact, there would be a huge difference in the results between treating a newborn and a six-year-old child.
Even the treatment is not costly and it should be made mandatory in the country as it is in other developed countries, Associate Professor of the Endocrinology Department of SSKM Hospital Dr Sujoy Ghosh said.
Stressing that Congenital Hypothyroidism is not a heritable one, Dr Chakravorty opined that neonatal screening for the disease can be done using the heel prick filter paper blood sample and it's a universal practice.

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