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July 7, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;233(1):9-20. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260010011001

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Kelp diets can produce myxedema in iodide-sensitive individuals  Those new eat-kelp-and-grow-thin diets now sweeping the country might be responsible for the development of myxedema, or iodide goiter, in a small percentage of patients.Most people can eat kelp without harm; it is nutritious and low in calories (and is a diet staple in Japan).The seaweed contains large amounts of potassium iodide, however, and there are estimates that 1% to 3% of the American population has an underlying sensitivity to chronic iodide exposure.For these people, both the kelp diets and the proposed sterilization of public water supplies with iodide might be hazardous, it is suggested.The subject arose at the Seventh International Thyroid Conference in Boston, where San Francisco surgeon Orlo H. Clark, MD, reported on iodide sensitivity in patients with partial thyroid glands—resulting from resections for benign thyroid nodules.Dr. Clark's main theme was that there might