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Epidemiology. 2007 May;18(3):367-8.

When will we eliminate folic acid-preventable spina bifida?

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Mandatory vitamin B12 fortification of enriched grain products is long overdue in the United States and Canada. Fortification would help provide the 2.4 mug of synthetic vitamin B12 that the US Institute of Medicine recommends for all persons 50 years and older. The findings of Ray and colleagues in this issue suggest that B12 may also help to prevent neural tube defects. If recommendations for B12 fortification were followed, it is possible that cases of spina bifida and anencephaly would be prevented. Two hundred twenty thousand children each year acquire folic acid-preventable spina bifida because many governments, including all in Europe, have yet to implement mandatory folic acid fortification. Fortification with folic acid and vitamin B12 is safe and should be implemented in all countries.

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