Flemish parliament adopts Folic Acid resolution

After the presentation of the IF-Bayer Schering Pharma report "Act against Europe's most common birth defects", Flemish parliamentarian Tom Dehaene discussed the prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) through the use of Folic Acid with the Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, Jo Vandeurzen. His questions resulted in the proposal of the "Resolution about the use of Folic Acid before conception and during pregnancy". The purpose of the resolution is to initiate ongoing preventive actions to educate all women of childbearing age about the importance of timely use of Folic Acid in Flanders. The results of the campaigns will also need to be monitored. On June 16, 2010, the Flemish Parliament adopted the resolution  in its plenary meeting. It is now up to the Flemish Government to act upon this resolution.
Parliamentarian Tom Dehaene successfully campaigned for the adoption of a Folic Acid resolution in the Flemish Parliament

Antiepilectic drug increases risk of several major birth defects

Researchers from the University of Groningen and the University of Ulster investigated the association of the antiepilectic drug valproic acid with major birth defects. The results of their study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 10, 2010. It was already known that the use of valproic acid increased the risk of Spina Bifida, yet the research showed an elevated risk for several other congenital defects as well, both compared to no use of anticonvulsants or the use of other antiepilectic drugs. This information should be taken into consideration when choosing an anticonvulsant for women of childbearing age. Despite the increased risk, a sizeable majority of children is born without defects. Other research investigated the possible protective effect of Folic Acid. It may lower the risk for higher, Folic Acid sensitive Spina Bifida lesions, but further studies are needed.
The "EUROCAT Antiepilectic Study Database" was used, which includes data from nearly 4 million pregnancies in 14 European countries from 1995 - 2005

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