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cretinism

cretinism (krē´tənĬz´əm), condition produced in infants and children due to lack of thyroid hormone. It usually results from a congenital defect (e.g., absence of the thyroid, presence of only a rudimentary gland, inability of the gland to produce thyroxine). However, it can develop later if there is a lack of iodine in the diet, or if the thyroid is diseased or surgically removed. Cretinism causes very serious retardation of physical and mental development; if the condition is left untreated, growth is stunted and the physical stature attained is that of a dwarf. In addition, the skin is thick, flabby, and waxy in color, the nose is flattened, the abdomen protrudes, and there is a general slowness of movement and speech. If discovered early enough and treated with thyroid extract and sufficient iodine intake throughout life, growth may become normal and mental facility greatly improved. If the condition commences after adulthood is reached it is called myxedema.

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cretinism

cretinism Underactivity of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) in children, resulting in poor growth, severe mental retardation and deafness. Commonly the result of a dietary deficiency of iodine; may be congenital if the mother's iodine intake was severely inadequate during pregnancy. Hypothyroidism in adults is myxoedema.

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cretinism

cretinism The condition that results from inadequate secretion of thyroid hormones during fetal life or early infancy. The brain and skeleton fail to develop properly, resulting in mental retardation and dwarfism.

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cretinism

cretinism (kret-in-izm) n. a syndrome of dwarfism, mental retardation, and coarseness of the skin and facial features due to congenital hypothyroidism.

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