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  • 1 Semmelweis University Medical School, Faculty of Medicine 2nd Department of Internal Medicine Szentkirályi u. 46 H-1088 Budapest Hungary
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Thyroid hormones are of primary importance for the perinatal development of the central nervous system, and for the normal function of the adult brain. These hormones primarily regulate the transcription of specific target genes. They increase the cortical serotonergic neurotransmission, and play an important role in regulating central noradrenergic and GABA function. Thyroid deficiency during the perinatal period results in mental retardation. Hypothyroidism of the adults causes most frequently dementia and depression. Other less common clinical pictures include myxoedema coma, dysfunction of cerebellum and cranial nerves. Hypothyroidism also increases predisposition of stroke. Peripheral diseases frequently include polyneuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, myalgic state, and rarely myokymia. Nearly all the hyperthyroid patients show minor psychiatric signs, and infrequently psychosis, dementia, confusion state, depression, apathetic thyrotoxicosis, thyrotoxic crisis, seizures, pyramidal signs, or chorea occur. The peripheral complications may be indicated by chronic thyrotoxic myopathy, infiltrative ophthalmopathy, myasthenia gravis, periodic hypokalemic paralysis and polyneuropathy. Generalized resistance to thyroid hormone was confirmed in a number of patients with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Significantly elevated antithyroid antibody titers characterize Hashimoto’s encephalopathy. This condition is a rare, acute–subacute, serious, life-threatening, but steroid-responsive, relapsing-remitting, autoimmune disease.

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