Mandatory folic acid fortification has improved folate levels in Australians

The introduction of mandatory fortification with folic acid of wheat flour used in breadmaking has significantly lowered the prevalence of folate deficiency in Australians, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. The researchers found a 77 percent reduction in low serum folate levels after analysing more than 20,000 blood samples collected from a varied group of hospital patients between April 2007 and April 2010. The 77 percent drop occurred between April 2009 and April 2010. They said this drop included women of childbearing age which was one of the key population sub-groups targeted by the programme due to folic acid’s ability to reduce neural tube defects in newborns.
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Since 2009, Australian millers have been required to add folic acid to wheat flour used for breadmaking.

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EU ratifies Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The European Union ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on December 23, 2010, becoming the first intergovernmental organization to sign on to any human rights treaty and take on its binding obligations. "The EU ratification of the Disability Rights Convention sends a clear message that disability rights are a priority in the region and worldwide," said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. "All EU members and future members should now ratify the treaty and align their laws and practices with its standards."
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All EU member states should promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities

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First international workshop on research in fetal surgery

The first international workshop on research in foetal surgery took place in Milan on Saturday 18 December 2010. New horizons in diagnosis and treatment of congenital malformations were discussed, like artificial placenta, new techniques in back closure in neural tube defects and foetal surgery on several disabilities. Pierre Mertens, IF President, encouraged the scientific world not to give up investing in the unborn child. He stressed that foetal surgery gives hope to parents. Participants from Spain, France, Italy and US confirmed the huge difference in prenatal counseling resulting in termination of pregnancies differing from 30 to 95 %. IF’s position on prenatal counselling was well received.
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New horizons and treatment of congenital malformations

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