Are You What You Eat?

Patients with TED or Graves' were invited to attend a half-day meeting in Cardiff on Friday 22 April 2016 from 12-4pm. This was an opportunity to meet other patients and to share views to help progress research into thyroid eye disease.

The meeting focused on research into diet - specifically the role it plays in eye disease - and included the latest research on pre/probiotics in health and disease. The meeting included feedback from people with Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease on the final afternoon.

Professor Colin Hill of Cork University gave a presentation on a study into the effect of probiotics on the gut – the subject matter of the INDIGO trial study.

Lynne Kyffin, a TED patient from Newcastle, gave a talk entitled: Are You What You Eat? Lynne described life events and illnesses she had experienced over many years and how, by researching her eating habits and food content, and subsequently adjusting her diet, felt far healthier than she had for the past three decades.

A patient group was asked to discuss whether the presentations would lead them to reflect on how else they might deal with their thyroid disorder or TED, and whether instabilities in their gut may have caused their thyroid disorder. Janis Hickey presented a summary to the conference participants: most patients were unsure whether they would make any changes to their diet, but a couple pondered whether being vegetarian for three decades might have had adverse effects, and whether alcohol had a part to play. It had been clear from Lynne’s presentation that she had found information lacking on precisely what dietary changes to make, and it was felt more research and evidence was needed before an awareness campaign could be conducted. The patient group agreed that it would be helpful to organise a questionnaire about life styles, life events and diet.

Professor Marian Ludgate, coordinator of INDIGO, commented:
‘The patient group are absolutely right in saying that more studies need to be done. As part of the INDIGO project, patients recruited are asked to complete a questionnaire about their diet and lifestyle habits, in addition to providing various samples for analysis. We hope that this will prove to be informative and eventually lead to better care for people with TED.’


Further information on the INDIGO project