‘Is my thyroid problem going to affect my baby?’

We will discuss “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder in children born to mothers with thyroid dysfunction: a Danish nationwide cohort study” by the Andersen and co-workers from 24 September 2014 for 7 days.

*This paper will be made free-to-view on 15 September 2014.

Start date: 24 September 2014 (the discussion will open for 7 days)

First hosted discussion session(s) starts at: BST 7pm (UK time)

Host: @BlueJCHost

Platforms: Twitter

The Blue Journal Club is an international journal club on women’s health research based on Twitter (as @BlueJCHost). We start our conversation on the last Wednesday of each month and use the hashtag #BlueJC for our tweets. Simply add this hashtag (“#BlueJC”) to each tweet and we will capture it. Each #BlueJC opens for 7 days with an advertised start time. All BJOG #BlueJC papers also have complementary slide sets suitable for face-to-face journal clubs with your local colleagues. You can access the slide set of this paper here (data S1).

The discussion points are attached below (quoted from the published manuscript)


A pregnant women with hypothyroidism is concerned after reading about the association between thyroid disease and autism. She asks: ‘Is my thyroid problem going to affect my baby?’

 Description of research

Participants Singletons born in Denmark between 1991 and 2004, and alive and living in Denmark at the age of 3 years
Intervention Maternal thyroid dysfunction (hyper- or hypothyroidism), registered before or after childbirth
Comparison Children born to mothers without registered diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy
Outcomes Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), diagnosis of ADHD, and/or prescription of ADHD medication
Study design Population-based cohort study

Discussion Points

  • How common are ADHD and ASD in your community?
  • Critically appraise this study using the CASP Checklist for Cohort Studies (http://bit.ly/19nADNW).
  • What was the association between the timing of diagnosis (before or after childbirth) and the outcomes measured?
  • Can you briefly summarise the results of this study and comment on the effect estimates?
  • How likely is it that the observed associations between thyroid dysfunction, ADHD, and ASD are causal (Proc R Soc Med 1965;58:295–300)?
  • Which alternative study design(s) would you choose to answer the question in the scenario? (Data S1)

For those who want to understand hashtags, this may be a useful guide. For an introduction to #BlueJC, please refer to BJOG 2013;120:657–60. Follow @BlueJCHostthis blog and our Facebook page to receive news about #BlueJC.