Randomized MOMS trial reveals definite benefits of foetal surgery

Babies who undergo an operation to repair the birth defect Spina Bifida while still in the womb develop better and experience fewer neurologic complications than babies who have corrective surgery after birth, according to findings from the major multicenter Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS). Those who received prenatal surgery were half as likely to have a shunt, and eight times as likely to have a normally positioned brainstem. There was “much better motor function of the legs,” Dr. Adzick said, and at 30 months old, nearly twice as many walked without crutches or orthotics. But there were also medical downsides for the women and infants: greater risk of prematurity than the postnatal group, related breathing problems, and thinning or tearing at women’s surgical incisions, requiring Caesarean sections for later births. The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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Prenatal surgery greatly reduces the need to divert fluid away from the brain

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IF member organisations kick-off folate advocacy campaign in Sao Paulo

APEBI president Elena Zappoli of Buenos Aires, Argentina, IF liaison officer for AEBH Rozangela Santos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, IF board member Dr. Erwin Calgua from Guatemala and IF Secretary General Lieven Bauwens participated in a Bayer Schering Pharma Latin-American workshop on folate advocacy. IF and Bayer Schering Pharma have been teaming up in the European Union for the last 1.5 years to help prevent Neural Tube Defects and are expanding the partnership to other regions in the world. The two-day kick-off event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, brought together BSP regional and global staff and IF representatives to develop a strategy and disseminate good practice.

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Participants of the folate advocacy workshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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New EU strategy to empower people with disabilities

The EU believes that people with disabilities are entitled to live with dignity, enjoy equal treatment with the rest of the population, live independently, and take a full and active role in society. To realise this the European Commission has adopted the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The strategy covers eight key areas: accessibility; participation; equality; employment; education and training; social protection; health; and external action. To move forward in these areas, the strategy has established a number of activities for its first five years. The Commission will consider drafting a European Disability Act in 2012. The aim here will be to improve accessibility of goods, services and public infrastructure through the development of accessibility standards, and by enhancing the use of public procurement to buy accessible goods and services.
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Despite both EU and national legislation, many people with disabilities still face difficulties in their everyday lives

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