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By Stephanie Desmon and Stephanie Desmon,Sun reporter | January 27, 2008
It was all about the babies. A decade ago, when the U.S. required flour, bread and pasta to be fortified with folic acid, health experts believed it would help prevent devastating birth defects such as spina bifida. There's no question that it worked. As many as 1,000 newborns a year in the United States - and many more elsewhere - have been spared so-called neural tube defects because their mothers got a crucial infusion of folic acid before they even knew they were pregnant. But now some scientists are asking whether there have been unforeseen trade-offs for the population as a whole - including thousands of additional colon cancer cases each year, a somewhat smaller bump-up in prostate cancer, and an increase in cognitive impairment among the elderly.
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HEALTH
By Karen Kolowski, Special to The Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2012
Each week a nutritionist from the University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post to The Baltimore Sun's health blog Picture of Health (baltimoresun.com/pictureofhealth). This week, Karen Kolowski weighs in on pomegranates. The pomegranate has a long, rich history and has been considered a mystical fruit throughout the centuries. One of the earliest cultivated fruits, the pomegranate can be traced to 3,500 B.C. It is believed by some scholars to be what tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden rather than an apple.
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FEATURES
By Colleen Pierre and Colleen Pierre,Special to The Sun | July 25, 1995
Sixty million American women of childbearing age are at risk for having a baby with easily preventable birth defects.Many women want to have babies, but for some it happens sooner than they expect. In the United States, half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and one of every 20 girls becomes pregnant the first time she has sexual intercourse.Within 28 days of conception, before a woman has missed her menstrual period, the baby's brain and spinal column are completely formed. It's already too late to take the simple nutritional steps that will prevent two serious birth defects -- known as neural tube defects -- that happen to one of every 1,000 infants born in the United States.
NEWS
May 18, 2009
Study: Ginger capsules ease chemotherapy nausea Ginger, long used as a folk remedy for soothing stomach aches, helped tame one of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatment - nausea from chemotherapy, the first large study to test the herb for this has found. People who started taking ginger capsules several days before a chemo infusion had fewer and less-severe bouts of nausea afterward than others who were given dummy capsules, the federally funded study found. "We were slightly beside ourselves" to see how much it helped, said study leader Julie Ryan of the University of Rochester in New York.
FEATURES
By Dr. Simeon Margolis and Dr. Simeon Margolis,Special to The Sun | March 21, 1995
Q: Is it true that taking folic acid and other B vitamins may protect me from having a heart attack?A: Possibly.About 30 years ago, doctors recognized that people with a rare genetic disorder called homocystinuria frequently died at a young age of a heart attack or stroke.Homocystinuria is due to a metabolic defect that leads to extremely high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.Although the mechanism is not clear, markedly increased levels of homocysteine are associated with premature arteriosclerosis and blood clot formation, which together lead to narrowing and even complete blockage of arteries supplying the heart, brain and other organs.
FEATURES
By Dr. Genevieve Matanoski and Dr. Genevieve Matanoski,Contributing Writer | October 26, 1993
We all know the importance of eating a balanced diet, but recent research has shown that folic acid is especially important for every woman of childbearing age.In fact, it is so important that the Food and Drug Administration has issued a new regulation that will require the food industry to enrich bread and cereals with folic acid to help women consume enough folic acid each day.I talked with Lisa Summers, coordinator of nurse midwifery research at the...
FEATURES
By New York Times News Service | September 15, 1992
The U.S. Public Health Service recommended yesterday that all women of childbearing age should take extra folic acid, a B vitamin, to prevent neural tube defects that affect 1 to 2 of every 1,000 babies born each year. The effects of these birth defects include paralysis and death.Researchers on birth defects and nutrition said that if the advice was followed the incidence of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly should fall to between a quarter and a half of the current figure of 2,300 cases a year.
FEATURES
By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon and Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | August 20, 1996
I've read that a vitamin called folic acid may protect people from heart disease. My parents both have heart problems, so I am being very careful with my diet. I have cut out fat from meat, milk, butter, cheese and eggs. I don't even eat margarine. Can you tell me how much folic acid I should take?Research has focused on people's diets. Those who consumed the most folic acid in foods such as spinach, split peas, lentils, broccoli or peanuts were less likely to suffer heart attacks.Until a study is done with folic acid supplements, we cannot say if they will be as good.
NEWS
By Ronald Kotulak and Ronald Kotulak,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | September 9, 2005
Neural tube defects in babies have decreased significantly since the federal government mandated that folic acid be added to enriched grains, a new study shows, but critics say preventable cases still occur because the fortification level is too low. Folic acid deficiency is considered the major cause of neural tube defects, including spina bifida, an open spine that often leads to paralysis and other complications; and anencephaly, a condition in...
FEATURES
By Denise Gellene | August 9, 2007
Adding folic acid to flours, pastas and rice has reduced the rate of spina bifida and anencephaly in the United States, sparing 1,000 babies each year from these devastating birth defects. But a recent study suggests those health gains may have come at a cost: an extra 15,000 cases of colon cancer annually. The report, from Tufts University, is the latest to raise a cautionary note about a public-health policy that has been largely viewed as a success. "Have we done more harm than benefit?"
NEWS
By Stephanie Desmon and Stephanie Desmon,Sun reporter | January 27, 2008
It was all about the babies. A decade ago, when the U.S. required flour, bread and pasta to be fortified with folic acid, health experts believed it would help prevent devastating birth defects such as spina bifida. There's no question that it worked. As many as 1,000 newborns a year in the United States - and many more elsewhere - have been spared so-called neural tube defects because their mothers got a crucial infusion of folic acid before they even knew they were pregnant. But now some scientists are asking whether there have been unforeseen trade-offs for the population as a whole - including thousands of additional colon cancer cases each year, a somewhat smaller bump-up in prostate cancer, and an increase in cognitive impairment among the elderly.
FEATURES
By Denise Gellene | August 9, 2007
Adding folic acid to flours, pastas and rice has reduced the rate of spina bifida and anencephaly in the United States, sparing 1,000 babies each year from these devastating birth defects. But a recent study suggests those health gains may have come at a cost: an extra 15,000 cases of colon cancer annually. The report, from Tufts University, is the latest to raise a cautionary note about a public-health policy that has been largely viewed as a success. "Have we done more harm than benefit?"
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,Sun Reporter | January 13, 2007
It's known to prevent birth defects, and the latest studies show it helps retain memory and hearing. But despite a decade-long public health campaign, women still don't get enough of the vitamin folate. A type of B vitamin, folate is found naturally in beans, leafy vegetables, some meats and orange juice. During the past few weeks, two scientific studies and a federal report have focused interest on what steps may be needed to boost consumption. "It's a hot topic in the medical literature right now," said Dr. Joseph Mulinare, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NEWS
April 2, 2006
Every year, about 450 children are born with serious birth defects in Maryland, and that number is rising. A proposal approved by the House of Delegates last week could help reduce these instances by requiring the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide low-income women with free multivitamins and mineral dietary supplements that contain folic acid, a B vitamin that significantly reduces birth defects. The legislation is good public policy that could also save the state millions in subsidized health care costs.
NEWS
By JOE AND TERESA GRAEDON | November 4, 2005
How dangerous is it to drink wine if you are at risk of breast cancer? My mother died of breast cancer, so I know I am at higher-than-average risk. My husband and I drink a glass of wine with dinner most nights, but I rarely have more than one. Women who drink three glasses of wine daily increase their risk of breast cancer by more than 40 percent (British Journal of Cancer, Nov. 18, 2002). Women who drink alcohol and get little folic acid in their diet (200 micrograms or less) may double their chance of developing this disease.
NEWS
By Ronald Kotulak and Ronald Kotulak,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | September 9, 2005
Neural tube defects in babies have decreased significantly since the federal government mandated that folic acid be added to enriched grains, a new study shows, but critics say preventable cases still occur because the fortification level is too low. Folic acid deficiency is considered the major cause of neural tube defects, including spina bifida, an open spine that often leads to paralysis and other complications; and anencephaly, a condition in...
NEWS
By Jamie Talan and Jamie Talan,NEWSDAY | August 15, 2005
A gene that regulates blood vessel health in the brain may not be doing its job in people with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. Meanwhile, an unrelated study has found that folic acid supplements may significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. It may do that by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that at high levels is associated with cardiovascular problems. "There are many signs pointing to the vascular system in Alzheimer's," said Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of the gene finding in Nature Medicine, a scientific journal.
NEWS
By Shari Roan and Shari Roan,Los Angeles Times | September 21, 2003
For the past five years, folic acid has been added to cereal and grain products in the United States in an effort to reduce neural tube birth defects, deformities in which the spinal cord is exposed in a developing fetus. Since then, the fortification has been credited with reducing these defects by 20 percent. But the addition may be causing an unintended problem for people at the other end of the age spectrum. The extra folic acid may be masking vitamin B-12 deficiency in people 60 and older, warns one of the nation's leading researchers on the B vitamins.
NEWS
By Jamie Talan and Jamie Talan,NEWSDAY | August 15, 2005
A gene that regulates blood vessel health in the brain may not be doing its job in people with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. Meanwhile, an unrelated study has found that folic acid supplements may significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. It may do that by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that at high levels is associated with cardiovascular problems. "There are many signs pointing to the vascular system in Alzheimer's," said Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of the gene finding in Nature Medicine, a scientific journal.
NEWS
By Betsy Hornick and Betsy Hornick,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | March 3, 2004
What if mental decline did not have to be a natural consequence of aging? What if part of the secret to staying sharp lay in the foods we eat? Emerging evidence suggests that getting enough of certain nutrients - namely iron, zinc and B vitamins - may help stave off the cognitive decline seen with aging, possibly even Alzheimer's and dementia. "We're learning that if you feed your brain the right nutrients, it will work harder for you throughout life," said Dayle Hayes, dietitian, author and nutrition therapist in Billings, Mont.
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