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Ir J Med Sci. 2003 Jul-Sep;172(3):118-22.

Folic acid knowledge and use among relatives in Irish families with neural tube defects: an intervention study.

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Boyne Research Institute, Duke House, Drogheda, Ireland.



Relatives in families where a child has a neural tube defect (NTD) may be at higher risk of having an affected child. Little is known of their level of knowledge and use of folic acid.


To carry out an intervention study intended to increase knowledge and use of folic acid among relatives.


One hundred aunts and female first cousins (relatives of the proband) were interviewed by telephone before and after receiving an information pack.


At baseline, although knowledge of the benefits of folic acid was high (73%), use of folic acid was low (8.8%). After the intervention, knowledge increased and use went up to 19% (p < 0.05).


This study suggests that relatives in Irish NTD families have a high level of information about folic acid benefits. This awareness may not translate into action since the intervention produced only a modest increase in folic acid use overall. Future studies focussing on women who are planning a pregnancy may show larger benefits from intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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