Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Feb;13(2):81-8.

Maternal serum B12 levels and risk for neural tube defects in a Texas-Mexico border population.

Author information

  • 1Texas Department of Health, Austin 78756, USA. lucina.suarez@tdh.state.tx.us



Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects that can be prevented with folate fortification and supplementation. Studies suggest that other nutrients may also be essential to neural tube closure and have a potential role in risk reduction, with vitamin B(12) mentioned most often. We determined the effect of maternal serum B(12) levels, measured postpartum, on the risk of NTDs among a high risk Mexican American population.


The case-control study included 157 Mexican American women with NTD-affected pregnancies and 186 Mexican American women with normal pregnancies, who were residents of Texas-Mexico border counties and delivered during 1995 to 2000.


Compared with women in the highest vitamin B(12) quintile, women in the lowest quintile showed a strong risk effect (odds ratio (OR) = 3.0, confidence interval (CI): 1.4, 6.3); while those in the 2nd and 3rd quintiles showed moderate risk effects (OR = 1.6, CI = 0.7, 3.6 and OR = 1.7, CI = 0.8, 3.8, respectively). Adjusting for obesity, vitamin supplements, dietary folate, dietary B(12), red blood cell folate, and other covariates did not materially change these estimates.


Insufficient levels of serum B(12), which are not normally indicative of a classical vitamin B(12) deficiency nor stem from an inadequate diet, may be an important etiologic factor for NTDs in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk