Hyderabad: An iodine patch designed like a regular ‘bindi’ should help deal with deficiency of the mineral nutrient, according to a study by pharmacists and published in ‘Pharma Tutor’. The bindi, designed in the traditional style, had been given to 1 lakh tribal women in Maharashtra who did not use idoised salt.
Study author C. Gopinath said the cost of diagnosing thyroid, caused by iodine deficiency, and subsequent supplements were found to be expensive for rural and tribal people. The trial carried out with bindis had a positive impact on the tribal women.
The incorporation of iodine was based on the daily dose the body required and iodised salt was the most important source.
While the new method raised many eyebrows, especially among the medical fraternity, the trials in the region and its effects could pave way for use of the bindi, he added.
A senior endocrinologist on condition of anonymity said, “These are various experimental options which are used to assess the deficiency. But how much the body will be able to absorb is the moot question. Presently, the thyroid pill for iodine deficiency is found to work and there is innumerable research to back it.”
These kind of experiments could not be taken up till there was sufficient evidence that external applications did work on controlling the deficiency.
While deliberations on the matter could be taken up, the study claims success in its experiment in the tribal region and said it was ‘cheap and easily applicable’.
Iodine deficiency among the tribal population was high and clinical trial of the bindis was yet to happen, the author said.
However, at medical camps, these bindis were being promoted and impact assessment studies would be undertaken, he added.