Caution on preventing neural-tube defects.

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Caution on preventing neural-tube defects.

Publication Date
Dec 12, 1981
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Medicine
License
Unknown

Abstract

Folic Acid for the Prevention of Infant Neural Tube Defects: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Summaries for Patients are a service provided by Annals to help patients better understand the complicated and often mystifying language of modern medicine. The full reports are titled “Folic Acid for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommen- dation Statement” and “Folic Acid Supplementation for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: An Update of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.” They are in the 5 May 2009 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 150, pages 626-631 and pages 632-639). The first report was written by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; the second report was written by T. Wolff, C. Takacs Witkop, T. Miller, and S.B. Syed. Who developed these recommendations? The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care. What is the problem and what is known about it so far? The neural tube lies along the back of a developing embryo and becomes the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects are abnormalities of the embryo’s brain and spinal cord. The most common neural tube defect is a condition known as spina bifida. Spina bifida can be mild or severe. In mild forms, babies are born with a dimple or tuft of hair at the base of the spine. In more serious forms, the spinal bones (vertebrae) are abnormal or part of the spinal cord is open to the skin. Severe forms can cause weakness or numbness in the legs and lack of bladder or bowel control. Women who take folic acid vitamin supple- ments before and during early pregnancy are less likely to have babies with neural tube defects than women who do not take folic acid. In 1996, the USPSTF recommended that all women who could become pregnant take a multivitamin supplement containing folic

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