Interview with Dr Salman Razvi, twice winner of the BTF Research Award

I have been fortunate to have received the BTF award twice in my career. Both awards have been used to study changes in thyroid function in survivors of the Whickham cohort. Some people may not be aware of this cohort. The first Whickham study in the early 1970s was the foremost study in the world that investigated the frequency of thyroid disorders in the Whickham area of Northeast England. 

We used the BTF Research Award 2006  to measure thyroid function in the survivors of this cohort and to assess if there any changes in thyroid function with age. The second BTF Research Award (2017) is being used to measure thyroid function in a subset of the Whickham survivors and to study how ageing may lead to changes in thyroid function.  

What were the results? How has this made a difference?

Results from the first study suggest that blood TSH levels (the pituitary hormone that is used to assess whether a person has normal thyroid function) increase with age with little or no change in thyroxine level (the main thyroid hormone released by the thyroid gland).

This is in keeping with the emerging literature that confirms that mild increases in blood TSH levels are part of healthy ageing and do not require treatment.

The second award, which is still work in progress, will try to investigate why TSH levels increase. This will deepen our understanding of normal thyroid function with ageing and potentially lead to separate reference ranges for thyroid function in different age groups.

How important has the BTF Research Award been to your research?

It is becoming clearer that slight changes in thyroid function are part of the normal ageing process. The BTF awards have been instrumental in studying changes in thyroid function in the same group of people over half a lifetime and add to the evidence that mild changes with age do not require treatment.

    Read about the BTF Research Award 2006

    Read about the BTF Research Award 2017 

    BTF Research Award Appeal  

    'Without BTF funding this research simply would not happen.' - Prof Chris McCabe, Birmingham

    We are very proud to have funded over £500,00 of vital thyroid research over our BTF Research Award's 25-year history. But we won't stop here!

    There are still so many aspects of thyroid disease that require research. That's why we have launched our 'BTF Research Award Appeal.' Can you help us raise £20,000 through our appeal, please? With your support, we can continue to fund the next generation of researchers who are dedicated to improving the lives of people living with thyroid disorders. Thank you

    Please donate to our appeal