Does periconceptional multivitamin use reduce the risk of neural tube defects associated with other birth defects? data from two population-based case-control studies.Am J Med Genet. 1996 Jan 02; 61(1):30-6.AJ
The role of periconceptional folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) is well established. However, it is not clear whether a protective effect exists for the subset of nonsyndromic NTD with other "unrelated" major structural birth defects (NTD-multiples). This question is important to investigate because of shared pathogenetic mechanisms between NTD and other types of birth defects, and because of the epidemiologic differences that have been shown between NTD-multiples and NTD-singles. We analyzed data from two population-based case-control studies of NTDs, Atlanta 1968-1980, and California 1989-1991, to assess whether periconceptional multivitamin use reduces the risk of NTD-multiples. Maternal vitamin histories were assessed for 47 and 65 NTD-multiples cases and 3,029 and 539 control babies in Atlanta, and California, respectively. There was a substantial risk reduction associated with periconceptional multivitamin use (-3 to +3 months) for NTD-multiples (pooled odds ratio = 0.36, 95% C.I. 0.18-0.72) that persisted after adjustment for maternal race/ethnicity and education. Also, no specific types of NTDs or NTDs with specific defects explained the risk reduction with vitamin use. These data suggest that multivitamins reduce the risk of nonsyndromic NTD cases associated with other major birth defects. The implication of this finding for the role of vitamins in the prevention of non-NTD birth defects should be further explored.