Spina Bifida is a worldwide issue affecting more children then known. Currently research has shown that it is mainly caused by a lack of certain specific absorption rates in and with folic acid.
In the UK people are soon going to be able to take a new supplement that would reduce the defects of Spina Bifida. As most women know taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy reduces the chance of a having a child that suffers from birth defects. Yet, most women probably did not know that the supplements that are supposed to prevent this issue, are not working 100%. Recent data has shown that folic acid alone will not prevent neural defects like Spina Bifida from occurring.
The research team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital located in the UK, is currently investigating options to solve this problem. So far, the work has been done with mice and there are not any significant conclusions. Why doesn't folic acid always work? Researchers think that folic acid may not always work because of a genetic blockage that can cause the way that vitamins are absorbed on metabolic level-therefore blocking the folic acid supplement found in many prenatal vitamins.
Many researchers like Nicholas Greene of the Institute of Child Health are looking into this. There hope is to use mice to replicate the defects and solve the problems using a treatment known as the nucleotide treatment. Researchers, like Greene think that it should be able to boost the effects of folic acide in the diet and safeguard against the birth defect. The organs of the defects begins when the spinal cord is formed at around 28 days. Typically, the spinal cord is then enclosed, but for children with this defect that does not happen. Babies born with this defect can have increased learning disabilities and an exposed spinal cord therefore increasing their risk of infection.
Even though it has been found that the spinal cord supplements are not always effective researchers are still assuring most expecting mothers that they should not stop taking the supplement. Folic acid or vitamin B9 is found in most prenatal vitamin supplements. Plus, the solutions to Spina Bifida might be in the near future. "We are greatly encourage by these new findings." stated ICH officials.
Unfortunately, Spina Bifida is one of the top birth defects affecting 1 in 1,000 pregnancies worldwide. In some countries these rates are expressly higher considering the lack of access to vitamins. In the US alone 1 in 1,500 babies are born with this disease according to the CDC. There is some evidence that persists with the use of tobacco during pregnancy and uncontrolled diabetes are part of the reason.
Spina Bifida means "split spine" literally. There are actually several types of this disease one of them is known as Occult Spinal Dysraphism , which means that the infant has a dimple in their lower pack, tufts of hair and small lumps in the area. so as the child grows doctors are highly aware of serious spinal cord issues as the child grows up. Another is Spina bifida Occulta, or hidden Spina Bifida, about 15% of healthy people have it and don't even know it. IT had no visible signs, and because of this the diagnoses are really controversial. For some people pain and neurological symptoms do occur and they can be found later on in life as a tethered cord. It takes investigative procedures to diagnose this birth defect.
Right now Spina bifida is treated with an operation early about two to three days of birth, and helps prevent the spinal cord from damage. As of right now the only way to prevent Spina Bifida is to continue to use folic acid and at least 0.4 mg a day.