Prevention of neural tube defects: vitamins, enzymes and genes

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Neural tube defects can be prevented by folic acid, although the mechanism of this action is unclear. Studies of a series of folate‐related enzymes have so far failed to pin‐point the nature of the metabolic defect in the neurulation‐stage embryo that is corrected by folic acid. Approximately 30% of neural tube defects appear resistant to folic acid and recent work in a mouse genetic model system suggests that administration of myo‐inositol may be a complementary therapeutic option. The large number of mouse genes known to cause neural tube defects provide a starting point for identifying the genetic basis of the human defects. Curr Opin Neurol 11:97-102. © 1998 Rapid Science Ltd

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