The latter part of the nineteenth century saw great achievements in endocrinology, or the study of the endocrine system. During this time, experts no longer considered the thyroid gland—part of this system—to be a basic structure. But, instead, they recognized it as an organ that related to particular diseases. In addition, experts acknowledged the importance of iodine in and of itself.
Dr. Thomas Blizard Curling in 1850 described the first case of hypothyroidism (myxedema). An effective treatment for myxedema was introduced within 50 years of Curling’s revelation. Then, after another 50 years, researchers found that autoimmune thyroiditis serves as the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism, when a patient has access to enough iodine.