Although early treatment of the cretinous infant by no means assures optimal mental development, most authorities agree that the prognosis for satisfactory mental development declines as the period of untreated hypothyroidism is prolonged.1 The practicing physician is goaded by writers on this subject to make an early diagnosis, preferably within the newborn period. It would be ideal to treat cretinism before the classical signs emerge, but criteria on which this diagnosis can be made reliably in this early period are usually not specified.

The clinical picture of hypothyroidism in the cretinous neonate is at least partially obscured by the placental transfer of maternal thyroid hormone.

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