Spina Bifida: Health and development across the life course

In the August issue of Pediatric Clinics of North America, guest editors Mark E. Swanson and Adrian D. Sandler have gathered comprehensive reviews by experts in the field of Spina Bifida and transitioning. With life expectancy stretching well into the fourth decade and beyond, the approach to childhood service delivery needs to be one that considers the entire life course. In this special issue experts discuss the natural history of Spina Bifida and the challenges and opportunities for improving health and development during childhood. The key role to be played by pediatricians and other health professionals is emphasized. Most of the authors of this issue were part of the Spina Bifida Transition Working Group that produced the Life Course Model for Spina Bifida. The Life Course Model will be available on www.spinabifidaassociation.org in late 2010.
The Life Course Model focuses on goals across the life course in three important domains of life, and on how to reach them


No to austerity -priority for jobs and growth

On the 29th of September IF and other disability NGOs joined the European march against austerity in Brussels. Across Europe people with disabilities see their support services and living allowances cut and some governments started making irresponsible cuts in vital health services. Romania recently introduced a 25% pay cut for all public health care professionals. This in a country where a neurosurgeon already earns less than 400 euro per month and where the crumbling health service is already faced with an exodus of medical professionals moving abroad, some 20% having emigrated in the last 3 years. Although recovery plans do require some austerity measures, the social movements IF is part of believe that cutting vital services instead of investing in them will only prolong the recession, and that people depending on services need to be consulted on where cuts may be possible.
Trade unions, disability NGOs and other social movements from over 30 countries marched in the streets of Brussels


FDA approves combination contraceptive containing Folic Acid

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an oral contraceptive — the first of its kind — that is intended both to prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk for neural tube defects. The new contraceptive, Beyaz (Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals), contains levomefolate calcium, a metabolite of Folic Acid. A well established body of evidence supports folate supplementation as a means to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects. Adequate folate levels are particularly important at least one month before and three months after conception. During a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled U.S. trial in 379 healthy women age 18 to 40, Beyaz was found to increase their folate levels. In a German study of Beyaz, folate levels remained elevated for several weeks following discontinuation of Beyaz.
Bayer HealthCare and IF are working together to raise awareness about the importance of folate and folic acid

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