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Open access

Monika Schaffner, Ursula Rochau, Nikolai Mühlberger, Annette Conrads-Frank, Vjollca Qerimi Rushaj, Gaby Sroczynski, Eftychia Koukkou, Betina Heinsbaek Thuesen, Henry Völzke, Wilhelm Oberaigner, and Uwe Siebert

Objective

More than 30% of the German population suffers from mild to moderate iodine deficiency causing goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders (IDDs). The economic burden of iodine deficiency is still unclear. We aimed to assess costs for prevention, monitoring and treatment of IDDs in Germany.

Design

We performed a comprehensive cost analysis.

Methods

We assessed direct medical costs and direct non-medical costs for inpatient and outpatient care of IDDs and costs for productivity loss due to the absence of work in 2018. Additionally, we calculated total costs for an IDD prevention program comprising universal salt iodization (USI). We performed threshold analyses projecting how many cases of IDDs or related treatments would need to be avoided for USI to be cost-saving.

Results

Annual average costs per case in the year of diagnosis were € 211 for goiter/thyroid nodules; € 308 for hyperthyroidism; and € 274 for hypothyroidism. Average one-time costs for thyroidectomy were € 4184 and € 3118 for radioiodine therapy. Average costs for one case of spontaneous abortion were € 916. Annual costs of intellectual disability were € 14,202. In the German population, total annual costs for USI would amount to 8 million Euro. To be cost-saving, USI would need to prevent, for example, 37,900 cases of goiter/thyroid nodules.

Conclusion

USI potentially saves costs, if a minimum amount of IDDs per year could be avoided. In order to recommend the implementation of USI, a full health-economic evaluation including a comprehensive benefit-harm assessment is needed.

Open access

Lena-Maria Levin, Henry Völzke, Markus M Lerch, Jens-Peter Kühn, Matthias Nauck, Nele Friedrich, and Stephanie Zylla

Objective

Chemerin and adiponectin are adipokines assumed to be involved in the development of metabolic syndrome-related phenotypes like hepatic steatosis. We aimed to evaluate the associations of circulating chemerin and adiponectin concentrations with liver enzymes, liver fat content, and hepatic steatosis in the general population.

Methods

Data of 3951 subjects from the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-TREND) were used. Hepatic steatosis was assumed when either a hyperechogenic liver (assessed via ultrasound) or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-quantified liver fat content >5% was present. Adjusted sex-specific quantile and logistic regression models were applied to analyze the associations of chemerin and adiponectin with liver enzymes, liver fat content and hepatic steatosis.

Results

The observed associations of chemerin and adiponectin with liver enzymes were very divergent depending on sex, fasting status and the specific enzyme. More consistent results were seen in the analyses of these adipokines in relation to MRI-quantified liver fat content. Here, we observed inverse associations to adiponectin in both sexes as well as a positive (men) or U-shaped (women) association to chemerin. Similarly, the MRI-based definition of hepatic steatosis revealed strongly consistent results: in both sexes, high chemerin concentrations were associated with higher odds of hepatic steatosis, whereas high adiponectin concentrations were associated with lower odds.

Conclusion

Our results suggest a role of these adipokines in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis independent of metabolic or inflammatory disorders. However, experimental studies are needed to further clarify the underlying mechanisms and the inter-play between adipokine concentrations and hepatic steatosis.