Duff, Edith M.; Cooper, Edward S.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Metabolism Research Unit
Neural tube defects in Jamaica following Hurricane Gilbert
American Journal of Public Health
Date of Publication
An increased incidence of obvious live-birth neural tube defects (i.e., spina bifida cystica and encephalocele) occurred in Jamaica 11 to 18 months after Hurricane Gilbert. The conceptions of the affected babies coincided with a rise in megaloblastic change in sickle cell patients, suggesting a wide-spread drop in dietary folate intake. A detailed history was taken from each of the 17 affected mothers (case subjects) and 51 unaffected mothers (matched control subjects). The case subjects reported a significantly lower mean intake of dietary folate in the periconceptional period (154 micograms/day) than did the control subjects (254 micrograms/day). The temporary increase in neural tube defects was associated with a dietary level of folate that fails to protect against neural tube defects under natural conditions.....