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Cretinism is a condition which occurs due to the lack of thyroid hormones which is essential for the growth and development of infants and children. It occurs due to the inability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroxine is an important hormone which is required for myelination of the neurons in the brain lack of the hormone causes severe mental retardation, slow speech and body movements, thick tongue, flat nose, waxy skin, dull facial appearance and stunted growth which give the appearance of a dwarf. Cretinism causes very serious retardation of physical and mental development early diagnosis is needed so that thyroxine can be supplemented and the child can have a normal growth. If the condition commences after adulthood is reached it is called myxedema. The condition can be assessed as soon as the child is born by taking a sample of the cord blood for testing.
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