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Am J Hum Genet. 1988 Dec;43(6):827-37.

Clinical, genetic, and epidemiological factors in neural tube defects.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


We examined clinical, genetic, and epidemiologic factors among 512 probands with nonsyndromal neural tube defects (NTDs). Data were analyzed after grouping the probands in four different ways with respect to pathological features and putative pathogenic mechanisms. Apparently unrelated congenital anomalies occurred more frequently among probands with craniorachischisis (62%), encephalocele (30%), or multiple NTDs (25%) than among probands with anencephaly (14.7%) or spina bifida (10.1%) (P much less than .0001). Unrelated congenital anomalies occurred less often among probands with low spina bifida (6.7%) than among probands with high spina bifida (19.5%). NTDs were seen in 7.8% of the siblings of probands with high spina bifida but in only 0.7% of the siblings of probands with low spina bifida, in 2.2% of the siblings of anencephalic probands, and in none of the siblings of probands with craniorachischisis, encephalocele, or multiple NTDS (P less than .001). In all 16 families in which two siblings had NTDs, both had either defects of the type associated with abnormal primary neurulation or defects of the type associated with abnormal canalization. High spina bifida and multiple NTDs were found more frequently than expected among the Sikh probands (P less than .02). The frequency of non-NTD congenital anomalies was higher among siblings of Sikh probands (8.8%) than among siblings of other probands (2.4%) (P less than .05). This excess was due to the occurrence of hydrocephalus without spina bifida in four of 68 siblings of Sikh probands.

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