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JAMA. 1993 Mar 10;269(10):1257-61.

Periconceptional folic acid exposure and risk of occurrent neural tube defects.

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1
Slone Epidemiology Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Brookline, MA 02146.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

A recent controlled trial has established that use of a 4-mg folic acid supplement before and during early pregnancy reduces the risk of recurrent neural tube defects (NTDs) by 72%. The present study was designed to determine whether folic acid also reduces the risk of first (occurrent) NTDs.

DESIGN:

Case-control study.

SETTING:

Tertiary and birth hospitals in metropolitan areas of Boston, Mass, Philadelphia, Pa, and Toronto, Ontario.

PARTICIPANTS:

Mothers of 436 occurrent cases with NTDs and mothers of 2615 controls with other major malformations.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The prevalence of use of multivitamins containing folic acid was compared between mothers of cases and controls.

RESULTS:

The mothers of 17% of cases and 3% of controls reported knowledge of the folic acid-NTD hypothesis and were excluded from further analysis. For daily use of a multivitamins containing folic acid in the periconceptional period (28 days before through 28 days after the last menstrual period), the relative risk (RR) (and 95% confidence interval) was 0.4 (0.2 to 0.6). The most commonly used dose of folic acid was 0.4 mg, and the RR estimate was 0.3 (95% confidence interval, 0.1 to 0.6). For dietary folate, there was a dose-related decline in risk according to the quintile of intake (P for trend = .02).

CONCLUSION:

These findings suggest that daily periconceptional intake of 0.4 mg of folic acid (the dose most commonly contained in over-the-counter multivitamin preparations) reduces the risk of occurrent NTDs by approximately 60%. A relatively high dietary intake of folate may also reduce the risk.

PMID:
8437302
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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