Pregnancy: Prevention of Neural Tube Defects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Neural tube defects (NTDs) are major congenital malformations of the central nervous system when the neural tube fails to close properly in the developing fetus, resulting in death or lifelong disability. The finding that folic acid can prevent NTDs ranks as one of the most important discoveries in birth defects research, and indeed in human nutrition. This article will review the nutrition and genetic factors in the etiology of NTDs and summarize the mechanisms underlying the link between folate and NTD. Policy for preventing NTD will be discussed, including mandatory food fortification programs aimed at reducing the population prevalence of NTDs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Human Nutrition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780128218488
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Jun 2022


  • Anencephaly
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Folate
  • Folic acid
  • Food and nutrition policy
  • Fortification
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate
  • Health policy
  • Neural tube defects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevention
  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Spina bifida
  • Supplementation
  • Vitamin B12


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