The Natural Thyroid Diet
The thyroid gland secretes hormones that control your metabolism, the rate at which your body burns energy. When the thyroid doesn't function properly, it can make your metabolism run too quickly or too slowly. Either problem can interfere with learning and memory. Research with animals demonstrates that changes in levels of thyroid hormones cause physiological changes in the hippocampus. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can impair your memory and your ability to sustain attention. Hyperthyroidism is also associated with anxiety, insomnia, and tremor. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause generalized cognitive slowing, sluggishness, and psychiatric symptoms. If you suffer from thyroid problems, getting the proper medical treatment should help prevent or diminish memory difficulties.
The flip side of hypothyroidism is the syndrome called thyrotoxicosis, which is due to excess circulating levels of thyroid hormone caused by autoimmune or malignant disease or by excessive hormone supplementation in people with thyroid deficiency. The clinical signs of thyrotoxicosis are hyperactivity, anxiety, and emotional instability. Memory loss can accompany poor attention and concentration resulting from the hyperactive state. Physical signs include heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and sleeplessness. For those receiving too much thyroid medication, the treatment is straight-forward lower the dose. For people with thyrotoxicosis due to autoimmune or other causes, there are effective antithyroid medications surgical removal of part of the thyroid gland is occasionally needed.
The most common hormonal cause of memory loss is thyroid deficiency. A patient whom I saw early in the course of my career illustrates the effects of thyroid deficiency in the brain. The next morning, I received a stunning jolt. My senior resident, Dr. Raghuram, who had been on night call, summoned me into his office and lambasted me. Ponnamma had become nearly comatose during the night, and he had been urgently summoned to see her. After a quick examination, he correctly identified the physical features of obesity, slow movements, and absent reflexes as signs of classical myxedema caused by severe thyroid deficiency. He immediately started her on thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The blood test results, received the next day, confirmed the diagnosis. Ponnamma made a steady recovery on thyroid replacement and was discharged to her home four weeks later, free of psychosis and cognitive deficits. Myxedema madness'' is caused by severe, prolonged thyroid deficiency, and is rarely seen...
If thyroid deficiency causes memory loss, can giving thyroid hormone to people without this hormone deficiency boost memory The answer is no the body's internal regulatory system maintains a fine balance in the levels of thyroid and most other hormones, quickly getting rid of the excess hormone that is ingested. An additional factor weighing against these hormones is that they cause a variety of side effects (differs markedly among different hormones) when given in high doses, thus reducing their potential utility as a long-term preventive strategy against age-related memory loss.
The hypothalamus and or pituitary gland in the base of the brain secrete their own hormones, such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) or adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), to stimulate (or inhibit) the corresponding hormone-producing gland for example, thyroid or adrenals (see Figure 2). This feedback loop is delicately balanced, and changes at either the top (hypothalamus or pituitary) or bottom (thyroid or adrenal) levels can lead to illness.
In some cases, a degree of clairvoyance has developed as a result of an abnormal growth on the thyroid. When the growth is removed by surgery, the clairvoyant sensitivity disappears. Could a heightened sensitivity be artificially produced by clever surgery After Peter Hurkos fell off a building, he found that something changed in his brain and he suddenly was endowed with 'psychic' abilities. Unfortunately in the present time period, extranormal abilities are often too stressful for the ill-prepared individual, and confinement to a mental hospital is sometimes the result.
Action of thyroid hormones, diazepam, caffeine, and amitriptyline on memory decay ( forgetting ). Life Sciences 29 1983-1988, 1981. Gould, E. C., Woolley, C. S., McEwen, B. S. The hippocampal formation morphological changes induced by thyroid, gonadal, and adrenal hormones. Psychoneuroendocrinology 16 67-84, 1991.
On neuropsychological testing, she performed within the expected range for her age on most tests, except that her delayed recall score on the Selective Reminding Test, which evaluates the ability to learn lists of words and keep them in memory (a test described in chapter 1), was slightly below par. Her blood tests showed no metabolic, thyroid, or nutritional deficiencies, and her MRI scan was normal. Physically, she was in good health with nothing abnormal on her medical or neurologic examination. She seemed somewhat anxious and was clearly under stress, but I did not think she had an anxiety disorder or depressive illness.
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