Mortality and Maldevelopment: Part II: The Saga of Neural Tube Defects

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Springer Science & Business Media, Feb 28, 2009 - Medical - 265 pages

Congenital malformations are worldwide occurrences striking in every condition of society. These severe physical abnormalities which are present at birth and affecting every part of the body happen more often than usually realized, once in every 33 births. The most common, after heart defects, are those of the neural tube (the brain and spinal cord) which happen in as many as one in every 350 births. They have been noted as curiousities in man and beast throughout recorded history and received great attention in our time by various fields of study, for example, their faulty prenatal development by embryologists, familial patterns by geneticists, causation by environmentalists and variability by population scientists.

Attention turned much in recent years to the relation of these malformations to deficiency of a particular dietary ingredient, folic acid, a subject this book analyzes in depth. The greatest conundrum of all, which this latest matter like so much else hinges on, is the amazing fact of the tremendous, almost universal decrease in the frequency of these anomalies since early in the 20th century. The puzzle is ‘What can this downward trend possibly mean?’ and at bottom ‘Whether it is part of a long-term cyclical pattern’. This fascinating biological phenomenon is explored in the book together with various other topics.

 

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Contents

Basic Stuff
2
Setting the Stage
17
The Continent of Europe 51
50
The United States
79
Geography and Chronology
119
Canada
129
Australia and New Zealand
145
Blacks and Jews
155
The Mideast 167
166
Abortion
179
Early Questions
191
Etiology II
207
Neural Tube Defects in China
217
The Ultimate Question
223
Index
261
Copyright

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