Professor Rudi Westendorp from Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing and professor Jacobijn Gussekloo from the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) met with medical experts from around Europe at the University of Glasgow for the inaugural meeting of a new research project investigating current treatment practices for people who suffer from a mildly underactive thyroid gland. The study is entitled Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Subclinical Hypo-Thyroidism Trial (TRUST), and is funded by a €6 Million grant from the EU’s FP7 programme.
TRUST researchers will follow 3,000 older subjects over a five year period in an attempt to better understand how to treat people who suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism. Half of the subjects will be treated with a hormone replacement drug, thyroxine, while the other half will be given a placebo; both groups will then be monitored to evaluate how they respond to the treatments.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck and controls how quickly the body uses energy and produces proteins; it also controls how sensitive the body is to various hormones. A mildly underactive thyroid, a condition also known as subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) affects around one in six people over the age of 65 and has been linked to various health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, in later life.
The project will mean academics from the LUMC and the Leyden Academy will collaborate with experts in ageing, thyroid problems and vascular disease from around Europe, including researchers from the Leiden University Medical Centre and Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing, Netherlands; University of Cork, Ireland and University of Berne, Switzerland.