Update on Wilson's Thyroid Syndrome
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Q:  Update on Wilson's Thyroid Syndrome

On your site I came across a mention of Wilson's thyroid syndrome Wilson's Thyroid Syndrome .  In your answer you said that you had some skeptism of this site mainly for the fact that you had to purchase a manual for $32.00.  There is a link to download the manual for free along with a link to download the patient's book for free.  However, my question is have you looked into this matter anymore.  I have tried to do research on this myself and am not sure if I find it any more credible than anything else I have read and being that none of the "Certified" doctors that are listed are in my area I am wondering what your feeling are on this matter.

I would greatly appreciate hearing what you have to say on the matter of Wilson's Thyroid Syndrome.


Dear Julie -- 
Thanks for the note about the manual. That would change things somewhat, if the site was not making money; at least not on the manual. Suffice it to say that we don't know anywhere near enough about the thyroid and bipolar symptoms, or even mood symptoms in general, but particularly bipolar disorder.  I've summarized everything I know about that relationship on a page called
Thyroid and Bipolar Disorder

I just reviewed the Wilson's site. I must say, when you first go there, it still looks like someone trying to hook people and sell them something. Just took me longer this time to figure out what they are selling.  Looks like the main thing being sold there now is a slow-release T3. That might actually be a very good idea -- but it sure would be nice to see some research on this. A friend of mine, a colleague in Colorado, has over 100 patients treated with T3, using the regular old T3 called Cytomel (not slow release). He's very sure it is helping people with treatment-resistant depression. A slow-release version of T3 would be very useful. 

And then the next step would be to study whether it worked better than T3 alone; or at least to study whether it actually works in some fashion, and publish those results, so that other scientists in the field would have the opportunity to review and perhaps try to replicate those results. Instead Dr. Wilson or whoever is running that site has stepped outside this research process and positioned himself to make money. As you can tell that irks me. 

There is a recent result in using thyroid for depression, indeed for treatment-resistant depression of a sort. Note that this is not bipolar depression, but the treatment resistance may have selected for a group of patients who do indeed have something closer to bipolar disorder. In a recent very large federally funded research program called the STAR*D, T3 was compared to lithium as add-ons ("augmentation") to an antidepressant.Nierenberg  Both worked to a similar degree and neither worked really well, but some patients clearly improved. The authors concluded that T3 was probably the better of the two options because it is simpler to use. 

Thus I would not be surprised if this T3 idea is underused. And I will look further into getting a slow-release T3 for my patients as an option locally (I just can't swallow the idea of buying it from that site -- so to speak). 

Dr. Phelps

Published December, 2006


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