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עמוד בית
Thu, 13.06.24

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August 2017
Yael Yagur MD, Saja Anaboussi MD, Mordechai Hallak MD and Alon Shrim MD

Background: The prevalence of major malformations in the general population is estimated at 5% of all live births. Prenatal diagnosis is an important scientific tool that allows reliable consultation and improves pregnancy outcome. In 2008, congenital malformations were the leading cause of death in Muslim infants and the second cause of death in Jewish infants in Israel. It is known that folic acid consumption prior to pregnancy decreases the rate of several fetal malformations.

Objectives: To assess the folic acid consumption rate and to characterize variables associated with its use among pregnant women attending a rural medical center. 

Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted at our institution. Pregnant women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy or within 3 days postpartum were interviewed. The main variable measured was the use of folic acid. Demographic variables and the rate of prenatal testing were assessed. A secondary analysis of the population that reported no consumption of folic acid was carried out. 

Results: Out of 382 women who participated in the study, 270 (71%) reported consumption of folic acid. Using a multivariate analysis model, we found that maternal education, planning of pregnancy, and low parity were independent predictors of folic acid consumption. Women who were not consuming folic acid tended to perform fewer prenatal tests during pregnancy.

Conclusions: High maternal educational level, planning of pregnancy, and low parity are related to high consumption rates of folic acid. Women who were not taking folic acid performed fewer prenatal tests during pregnancy. 

September 2006
J. Zlotogora, Y. Amitai and A. Leventhal

Background: Open neural tube defects are among the most common severely disabling birth defects. Secondary prevention by early diagnosis during pregnancy and abortion of affected fetuses lead to a marked reduction of NTD[1] incidence at birth. For primary prevention of these defects, in August 2000 the Israel Ministry of Health issued guidelines recommending a daily 0.4 mg folic acid supplement for all women in their childbearing years with special emphasis on the 3 months preceding conception and the first trimester of pregnancy.

Objectives: To compare the epidemiologic characteristics of NTD in Israel before and after the guidelines for folic acid supplementation.

Methods: A national registry of NTD was begun in 1999. Since the Ministry of Health published the recommendation for folic acid supplementation in mid-2000, the years 1999–2000 represent the status prior to the recommendation and the years 2002–2004 the status after.

Results: A marked decline in the rate of spina bifida was observed in the last 3 years (from 4.9 to 2.7 per 10,000 live births among Jews and 9.5 to 6.2 among Arabs and Druze). There was no apparent reduction for anencephaly.

Conclusions: Following the Ministry of Health guidelines on folic acid supplementation for women in the reproductive age, a marked reduction in the rates of NTD was observed. In light of this apparent success, continuous efforts should be made to increase the percentage of women taking the supplementation and, especially, to introduce folic acid fortification.






[1] NTD = neural tube defects



 
April 2004
F. Nakhoul, Z. Abassi, M. Plawner, E. Khankin, R. Ramadan, N. Lanir, B. Brenner and J. Green

Background: Hyperhomocysteinemia is a well-recognized risk factor for accelerated atherosclerosis in hemodialysis patients.

Objectives: To examine the effects of two doses of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid on homocysteine levels in hemodialysis patients and assess the functional impact of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genotype on the response to treatment.

Methods: In a randomized prospective study, we assessed the effects of folic acid and two doses of B-vitamins in 50 hemodialysis patients with hyperhomocysteinemia. Patients were divided into two groups: 26 patients (group A) who received 25 mg of vitamin B6 daily and one monthly injection of 200 µg vitamin B12, and 24 patients (group B) who received 100 mg of vitamin B6 daily and one monthly injection of 1,000 µg vitamin B12. In addition, both groups received 15 mg folic acid daily. Patients were evaluated for homocysteine levels as well as for coagulation and a thorough lipid profile. Baseline Hcy[1] levels were determined after at least 4 weeks washout from all folic acid and B-vitamins that were given. MFTHR[2] alleles were analyzed, as were activated protein C resistance, von Willebrand factor and lupus anticoagulant.

Results: Basal plasma Hcy levels were significantly elevated in hemodialysis patients compared with normal subjects (33.8 ± 4.3 vs. 4.5 to 14.0 mmol/L). Following treatment, Hcy levels were significantly reduced to 21.2 ± 1.6 in group A and 18.6 ± 1.4 mmol/L in group B (P < 0.01). There was no difference in Hcy reduction following the administration of either high or low dosage of vitamins B6 and B12 utilized in the present study. There was no correlation between Hcy levels or thrombophilia and high incidence of thrombotic episodes in hemodialysis patients. Genotypic evaluation of MTHFR revealed that the presence of homozygous thermolabile MTHFR (n = 5) was associated with higher Hcy levels and better response to treatment (Hcy levels decreased by 58%, from 46.2 ± 14.6 to 19.48 ± 4.1 mmol/L following treatment). In patients with heterozygous thermolabile MTHFR (n = 25), Hcy levels decreased by 34%, from 31.2 ± 3.7 to 18.1 ± 1.1 mmol/L following treatment. The efficacy of high and low doses of B-vitamins on the reduction of homocysteine levels was comparable.

Conclusions: Treatment with B-vitamins in combination with folic acid significantly decreased homocysteine levels in hemodialysis patients, independently of the tested doses. In addition, mutations in MTHFR were associated with elevated plasma levels of Hcy. Neither vascular access nor.






[1] Hcy = homocysteine



[2] MTHFR = methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase


December 2002
JoeÈ l Zlotogora MD PhD, Yona Amitai MD, Dorit Nitzan Kaluski MD MPH RD and Alex Leventhal MD MPH MPA

Background: Open neural tube defects are among the most common malformations of the fetus. Secondary prevention by early diagnosis during pregnancy and abortion of affected fetuses result in a marked reduction of NTD incidence at birth. The dramatic effect of folic acid for primary prevention of these defects led to recommendations for folic acid supplementation in women of reproductive age.

Objective: To describe the epidemiologic features of NTD in Israel in 1999±2000.

Methods: A national registry of NTD was begun in 1999. During the years 1999±2000, a non-syndromic NTD was diagnosed in at least 394 pregnancies (166 anencephaly, 166 spina bifida, 43 encephalo-cele, and 19 with other types of NTD). The religious-ethnic affiliation was known in 392 cases (209 Jews and 183 non-Jews).

Results: Despite a marked decline in the rate of NTD at birth in the last few decades, the total rates during pregnancy did not change significantly, demonstrating that the changes were secondary to termination of affected pregnancies. At birth, NTD were almost four times more frequent among non-Jews (3.6 per 10,000 live births for anencephaly and 5.9 for spina bifida) than among Jews (anencephaly 1/10,000 live births, spina bifida 1.4/10,000 live births). The complete data of the registry showed an approximately twofold difference in the overall rates during pregnancy between Jews (anencephaly 5.3, spina bifida 4.6, total 11/10,000 live births) and non-Jews (anencephaly 8.8, spina bifida 10.3, total 22.3/10,000 live births). The registry demon-strated that the significant differences in NTD incidence observed at birth between Jews and non-Jews are secondary to a combined effect of a higher frequency of the malformations among non-Jews and a lower proportion of termination of affected pregnancies among non-Jews.

Conclusions: The data presented here will serve as a basis for evaluating the impact of the Ministry of Health recommendations for folic acid supplementation on the incidence of NTD.
 

March 2002
Dov Gefel, MD, Maria Doncheva, MD, Eli Ben-Valid, MD, Abed El Wahab-Daraushe, MD, Gil Lugassy, MD and Ben-Ami Sela, PhD
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