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January 10, 2017

Strategies for Preventing Folate-Related Neural Tube DefectsSupplements, Fortified Foods, or Both?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2017;317(2):144-145. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19894

The finding in 1991 that women who took folic acid supplements prior to conception reduced their risk for having a child with spina bifida or other neural tube defects (NTDs) by more than 50% stimulated an immediate effort to implement this discovery at the population level.1 This effort proved difficult because the neural tube closes by the 28th day after conception, before many women know they are pregnant, and so women may need to begin taking folic acid well before conception.

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