Neural Tube Defects (NTD): Folic Acid and Pregnancy
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In the US, one in 1000 births is affected by neural tube defects (NTD). A neural tube defect is a birth defect involving the malformation of body features associated with the brain and spinal cord. An NTD originates from and is characterized by incomplete closure of the neural tube, which is an organizer and precursor of the central nervous system. In humans, incomplete closure of the neural tube during embryonic development results in anatomical abnormalities such as anencephaly (a severe lack of skull and brain), hydranencephaly (cerebral hemispheres replaced with sacs of cerebrospinal fluid), spina bifida occulta (incompletely closed lower spinal cord), iniencephaly (severe retroflexed head and spinal defects), and encephalocele (a sac-like protrusion from an opening somewhere along the midline of the skull).