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Girschik, Carolin; Muchalla, Philipp; Kowall, Bernd; Zwanziger, Denise; Erbel, Raimund; Ittermann, Till; Meisinger, Christa; Stang, Andreas; Joeckel, Karl-Heinz and Fuehrer, Dagmar (2022): Regionale Unterschiede von Schilddrüsenfunktionsparametern: ein Vergleich europäischer Kohortenstudien. In: Gesundheitswesen, Vol. 85, No. 3: pp. 175-180

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Aim of the study The aim of the project was to investigate regional differences in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and free thyroxine (fT4) concentrations and iodine status in comparable German and European cohort studies. Methods Sex- and age-stratified TSH, fT4, and urine iodine concentrations of thyroid-healthy participants (age group 45-75 years) of the HNR (Heinz Nixdorf Recall) Study in the Ruhr region of Germany, the southern German KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) and northeastern German SHIP (Study of Health in Pomerania) studies, as well as the Norwegian HUNT (Nord-Trondelag Health) study (age group 40-79 years), the English EPIC (European Prospective Investigation of Cancer)-Norfolk study, and the Dutch Rotterdam study were compared. The TSH reference range for the HNR study population was calculated and compared to the KORA and SHIP studies. Results Regional differences showed a stronger influence on TSH and fT4 concentrations than sex and age of the subjects in the 45-to 75-year age group. The estimated difference in medians, as measured by the HNR study, was lowest in the SHIP study, - 0.47 (95 % CI: -0.53;- 0.41) for men and -0.41 (-0.53;-0.41) for women. The Rotterdam study had the highest difference in medians for both men and women (men: 0.56 with 0.44;0.68 and women: 0.62 with 0.46;0.78). The lowest median TSH concentrations, across all age categories considered, were seen in the German cohorts. Conclusions Comparison of thyroid function parameters and iodine in elderly subjects between six comparable cohort studies from Germany and Europe showed a significant influence of region, which exceeded the sex and age dependence of the parameters.

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