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Ann Epidemiol. 2000 Oct 1;10(7):476-477.

Prenatal tea consumption and risks of anencephaly and spina bifida.

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  • 1National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA, USA


PURPOSE: To evaluate the relationship between prenatal tea consumption and risk of anencephaly and spina bifida.METHODS: Data from the population-based Atlanta Birth Defects Case-Control Study were examined. Cases were infants with anencephaly (n = 122) or spina bifida (r = 154) and no other associated anomalies, and identified between 1968 and 1980. Controls were infants without birth defects (n = 3029) identified from birth certificates of the same birth cohort and frequency matched to cases by race, period of birth, and hospital of birth.RESULTS: Maternal tea consumption during the periconceptional period (3 months before through the first trimester of pregnancy) was reported at 82, 83.6, and 92.9% among controls, anencephaly, and spina bifida cases, respectively. With subjects whose mothers consumed no tea as a reference, odds ratios (OR) for tea consumption during the periconceptional period (adjusted for gender, race, period of birth, maternal age, education, alcohol consumption, smoking, and periconceptional multivitamins) were: anencephaly 0.9 (95% confidence limits (CI) 0.5-1.5); spina bifida 2.3 (CI 1.2-4.4). Odds ratios for spina bifida and number of cups of tea consumed/day were: 1-2 cups 2.1 (CI 1.1-4.0); 3+ cups 2.8 (CI 1.4-5.6). Consumption of other caffeinated beverages was not associated with risk for anencephaly or spina bifida.CONCLUSIONS: Further studies are warranted to corroborate and elucidate the observed association between tea consumption and spina bifida.

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