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Software aids in thyroid disease diagnosis, treatment

The web application allows researchers and scientists to test how treatments may affect patients' thyroid conditions.

By
Stephen Feller
The thyroid, a small gland located in the front of the neck, is responsible for the production of several different hormones involved with growth, development and metabolism. Using a new computer model developed by scientists at UCLA, doctors and researchers can simulate the effects of treatment on a malfunctioning thyroid. Photo by goa novi/Shutterstock
The thyroid, a small gland located in the front of the neck, is responsible for the production of several different hormones involved with growth, development and metabolism. Using a new computer model developed by scientists at UCLA, doctors and researchers can simulate the effects of treatment on a malfunctioning thyroid. Photo by goa novi/Shutterstock

LOS ANGELES, March 29 (UPI) -- Scientists created a web application that mimics the thyroid's function of controlling the hormone system, which they say allows them to analyze the effects of treatment on the organ and better treat patients.

Thyrosim, is a browser-based app that analyzes multiple sets of patient data offering simulated responses to treatment based on a mathematical model and comprehensive clinical data, according to scientists at the University of California Los Angeles.

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The thyroid, located in the front of the neck, controls hormones involved with growth, development and metabolism. The most common conditions associated with a dysfunctional thyroid include under- or overproduction of hormones, the autoimmune disorder Graves' disease and thyroid cancer.

"Thyrosim offers an easy-to-use interface for a sophisticated mathematical model of the short-term and long-term impact of thyroid diseases, treatments, hormone supplements and other interventions," Dr. Joseph DiStefano, a professor of computer science and medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, said in a press release. "This will benefit clinical and research endocrinologists and teachers, and could result in positive changes in the use or regulation of available remedies."

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For a study to test Thyrosim, published in the journal Thyroid, the scientists tested over-the-counter thyroid supplements meant to increase the organ's hormone production.

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In the tests, they found some products increase hormones in the blood to toxic levels that could cause serious danger.

The scientists said the open-source application is meant for wide use among teachers, doctors and researchers. While the system is run from a server at UCLA where simulations are run using the database scientists created, they said they made it open source in the hope it can grow.

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"By making the open-source software fully accessible, we hope to encourage others to improve it or expand its use," said Simon Han, a researcher at UCLA.

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