On the 25th anniversary of the publication of the paper that proved folic acid prevents spina bifida, Teratology Society members, Godfrey Oakley, MD, and Vijaya Kancherla, MD, PhD, have co-authored “A 2015 Global Update on Folic Acid-Preventable Spina Bifida and Anencephaly” in the Society's journal Birth Defects Research Part A.
Using existing data, the study looks at the proportion of folic acid-preventable spina bifida and anencephaly prevented in the year 2015 through mandatory folic acid fortification around the world. Despite knowledge of folic acid supplementation as an effective means for preventing birth defects, the study finds only a small fraction of folic acid-preventable spina bifida and anencephaly is, indeed, being prevented.
A moving editorial authored by James L. Mills, MD, Teratology Society Science Committee Member, entitled “What is standing in the way of complete prevention of folate preventable neural tube defects?” is also included in the journal.
In the Teratology Society Birth Defects Insights Blog published last year, Dr. Oakley, along with Society Past-President, Mary Alice Smith, PhD, also addressed the topic of implementing folic acid fortification to certain foods as another answer to preventing more neural tube defects. In addition, the Society adopted a resolution recommending that all countries fortify a commonly consumed food with folic acid to reduce the global burden of spina bifida.