Vitamins to prevent severe birth defects

holding hands with newborn

Supplements combining folic acid and inositol have shown promising results in reducing the risk of severe birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord when taken before and in early pregnancy.

However, some women may be much less likely to benefit from the addition of inositol because of their genetic makeup.

Professor Nicholas Greene and his team at UCL are developing a simple test to determine which expectant mothers should be recommended inositol supplements.

This test could be introduced into medical practice in less than five years. By quickly and cheaply identifying expectant mothers that will benefit from inositol, the test would simplify the process of prescribing inositol, as well as gathering further evidence of its effectiveness.

Professor Greene has been funded by Sparks for the last 15 years and this is a follow-up study to his previous work. The hope is that this work will lead to even larger studies that will help conclusively answer which preventative measure is best for each woman.

Project overview
Vitamins to prevent severe birth defects (PhD)
Professor Nicholas Greene
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
Grant: £89,968

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