Levothyroxine in Women... <before Conception>

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
"Levothyroxine in Women with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies before Conception" is the title of the paper.

The question of this thread is the meaning of "before conception." Does it impress you as "before the process of an egg being fertilized inside a woman's body so that she becomes pregnant"(Oxford Dictionary of English)?

It is so obvious to me. And if you think so as well, then take a look at its abstract, in which it points out that the authors actually mean "before conception through the end of pregnancy" during which the women take the medicine Levothyroxiine.

Thus the true question of this thread turns out to be: Is simply using "before conception" in the title insufficient or misleading?

******************
Levothyroxine in Women with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies before Conception

<.....................>A total of 19,585 women from 49 hospitals in the United Kingdom underwent testing for thyroid peroxidase antibodies and thyroid function. We randomly assigned 952 women to receive either 50 μg once daily of levothyroxine (476 women) or placebo (476 women) before conception through the end of pregnancy. The primary outcome was live birth after at least 34 weeks of gestation.

Source: N Engl J Med 2019 April 4, 2019
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1812537
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That use of through means “up to and including”. The women started taking the drug even before becoming pregnant and continued to do so until their pregnancy ended (hopefully in the form of bearing a healthy child).
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Yes! It is "before conception through the end of pregnancy," rather than simply "before conception."

    So do you think the title "Levothyroxine in Women with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies before Conception" misleading?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Not at all. They all got the hormone before conception (that was the study design: to see if levothyroxine had an effect when it was present for the whole period of reproduction from conception through birth), so why is it misleading?
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I said the title, not the content, might be misleading because it only contains "before conception" rather than your version "from conception through birth ."

    Simply put, what is your first reaction as you read the title "Levothyroxine in Women with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies before Conception"? Doesn't it simply mean the use of the drug before conception? The process of the entire pregnancy is not included if you only read the title.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    what is your first reaction as you read the title
    It is a study of the use of levothyroxine in a group of women who have been identified as having thyroid peroxidase antibodies before they have conceived.
    Doesn't it simply mean the use of the drug before conception?
    No.

    The study was not about the use of Levothyroxine before conception, it was about the use of the drug in a particular group of women.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't find it misleading at all. The essential phrase is not what is in bold text in the first post. Rather, it is "... with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies before Conception." They had the antibodies before conception, as as Andygc pointed out. That's all the title says. The treatment with levothyroxine took place both before and after conception, but the title doesn't say anything about that. It says they were treated with it, but it doesn't say when.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I don't find it misleading. If you want the whole abstract in the title, perhaps, but the contrast is with a design where the levothyroxine is only given after the woman has been shown to have conceived (i.e. the key point is giving it before conception versus after conception). If you expect academic paper titles to have been written for English learners, you will often feel disappointed :)
     
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