Class Year



iodine deficiency, endocrinology, metabolism, rural and urban populations


Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormone, which is indispensable for normal development, growth and metabolism. Iodine Deficiency (ID) results in decreased thyroid hormone synthesis, which can lead to mental retardation. ID is actually the most prevalent preventable cause of mental impairment. Although recent attempts have been made to eradicate ID, the threat still persists, especially in developing countries. The urinary iodine concentration of a population in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was evaluated because certain parts of Bolivia are thought to be mildly iodine deficient, but current data are not available. It was hypothesized that an urban population would have higher iodine nutrition than a rural population, where iodine deficiency was believed to exist. In summer 2006, I collected urine and blood samples from approximately 183 rural and 110 urban patients from the Santa Cruz area in the Bolivian lowlands. Iodine concentrations in the samples were determined using the Sandell-Kolthoff Method. In the rural population, 11.5 % of samples had iodine deficient values (0-100 µg/L), 81.9 % had iodine sufficient values (100-600 µg/L), and 6.56 % had high levels of iodine that exceeded 600 µg/L. In the urban samples, 16.4 % had iodine deficient values, 77.3 % had iodine sufficient values, and 6.36 % had levels of iodine exceeding 600 µg/L. Rural and urban populations in Santa Cruz are generally iodine sufficient, although iodine deficiency continues to exist.


Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College. Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.