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Neural tube defects decline in US after folic acid is added to flour

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 23 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1510
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

    The incidence of neural tube defects in the United States has declined by almost 20% since the mandatory addition of folic acid to bread and pasta in 1998. The results have renewed pressure on the UK government to implement a similar policy.

    Margaret Honein and colleagues from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities in Atlanta, Georgia, studied birth certificate data in the years before and after the Food and Drug Administration ruled that all grain products should be fortified with folic acid (JAMA 2001;285:2981-6).

    The number of neural tube defects that were reported on birth certificates fell from 37.8 per 100000 live births before fortification to 30.5 per 100000 live births after fortification, …

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