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Inertia on folic acid has caused thousands of unnecessary deaths

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 15 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1054
  1. Anna Ellis
  1. BMJ

    As many as 350 000 deaths could have been prevented over the last decade if the UK government had acted on the compelling evidence for the benefits of folic acid, a conference was told last week. Had flour been fortified with folic acid when the evidence regarding neural tube defects was published, thousands of people would not have died from coronary heart disease.

    Godfrey Oakley, visiting professor at the department of epidemiology at the Rollin School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, said: “The failure to require mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid is public health malpractice.” He was speaking at a conference in London organised by Dr Jean-Pierre Lin, consultant paediatric neurologist responsible for the spina bifida services at Guy's and St Thomas's hospitals on behalf of the charity the Little Foundation and MacKeith meetings (a product of publishers MacKeith Press).

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