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Update On Neural Tube Defect

News Report

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Update on Neural Tube Defect





Update on Neural Tube Defect

The new update on the latest intervention for reducing neural tube defect in Chile comprises adding folic acid to foods eaten by pregnant women (Center for Global Development, 2018). Based on the positive feedback obtained after this kind of treatment was implemented in countries like the United States and Canada, its success seemed predetermined in Chile. Therefore, this idea was later reflected in the new legislation presented by the Chilean Ministry of Health. The introduction of folic acid into the diet of the Chilean population targeted the role of ensuring the production of red blood cells and enabling the fetus neural tube to be developed into the spinal cord and the brain (López‐Camelo et al., 2005). However, considering that Chile has vast cultural beliefs and perceptions about different foods, the most straightforward approach for introducing folic acid has been through the wheat flour, which is a staple food. So, the folic acid got mixed with the wheat flour and was distributed across the country.

The results of the new legislation exceeded expectations bringing about a 50 percent reduction in the cases of neural tube defect in Chile. Compared to the past, where no intervention was used, the current approach seemed to offer a long-term solution to the problem. Similarly, it had the benefit of cost-effectiveness, where countries with low- to middle-income economies like Chile could solve a critical population health issue without incurring significant expenses (Center for Global Development, 2018). In addition, this legislation saved approximately $11 million, money that had been spent for rehabilitation of children with the neutral tube defect. Considering the level of success achieved after the implementation of above intervention, based on the latter further researches may be carried out to find more long-term solutions to the issue.


Center for Global Development. (2018). Prevention of neural-tube defects in Chile. Retrieved from

López‐Camelo, J. S., Orioli, I. M., Dutra, M. D. G., Nazer‐Herrera, J., Rivera, N., Ojeda, M. E., ... & Castilla, E. E. (2005). Reduction of birth prevalence rates of neural tube defects after folic acid fortification in Chile. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A135(2), 120-125.

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