Spina Bifida (cont.)
Spina Bifida Causes
Both genetic factors (heredity) and environmental factors, such as nutrition and exposure to harmful substances, probably contribute to spina bifida. Spina bifida does seem to run in families, although with mixed patterns of inheritance. Having a child with spina bifida increases the chance that another child will also have spina bifida by 8 times. In about 95% of cases of spina bifida, however, there is no family history of neural tube defects.
Research has suggested that many cases of spina bifida can be prevented by adequate intake of folic acid (folate) before and during early pregnancy. However, people with spina bifida appear to have abnormal metabolism of folic acid. This suggests that the underlying problem in spina bifida may be an inborn defect in folic acid metabolism rather than a simple deficiency in this nutrient.
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