Psychotic disorders occur unusually frequently among East African immigrants in Norway. The most common explanation has been war trauma and the collision of cultures. But researchers at NTNU have raised another hypothesis for the cause: fluoride. Many East Africans move from areas with excessive natural fluoride and low natural iodine, to a country with little natural fluoride and enough iodine in their diet.
This dietary shift can affect hormone production in the thyroid gland and lead to the metabolic disease called hyperthyroidism – which in turn can develop into a psychosis. The theory has now been internationally published. The idea has been postulated by the late Professor Karl-Erik Zachariassen of the Department of Biology and Associate Professor Trond Peder Flaten in the Department of Chemistry, NTNU.