Essay by VkaszaHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2005

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The word "cretin" has oftenly been linked to have originated from the Old French "chretien" meaning "Christian". In hopes of escaping persecution, Heretical Christians, regularly fled into iodine-deficient valleys in the Pyrenees in southwest France and as a result, had children with congenital hypothyroidism. Cretinism, otherwise known as congenital hypothyroidism (inactive thyroid gland - at birth) resulting in growth retardation, developmental delay and other abnormal features(Allara). The absence of the thyroid gland functioning correctly during pregnancy, can result in one of several problems or defects that do occur to the newborn. This genetic disorder has often been linked to deficiency of iodine in the mother's diet during pregnancy(Boyages).

Cretinism, is most commonly caused by untreated hypothyrodism dating from brith. Thyroid hormones have a major impact on growth, use of energy, heat production, and infertility. When secretion of thyroid hormones is insufficient, hypothyroidism occurs and the body oftenly slows down as a result.

Diagnosed in the nineteenth century, physicians recognized that after removing the thyroid gland, a patient oftenly suffered from swelling of the hands, face, feet, and tissues around the eye. This syndrome was then named as myxedema and the condition was due to the absence of thyroid hormones normally produced by the thyroid gland-hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism could result from deficiency of the thyroid gland, damage to the thyroid gland, failure of stimulation of the thyroid by the pituitary, and abnormal synthesis of thyroid hormones. The most common result of hypothyrodism is due to the absence or lack of development of the thyroid. This rate usually occurs 1 out of every 6,000 to 7,000 births; girls more oftenly affected than boys. Hypothyroidism occurs around the world, but is fairly uncommon(Greene).

Infants with Hypothyroid often have a distinctive appearance with a puffy-appearing face, a dull look, and a...