• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica Reduces Cases Of Spina Bifida in Newborns

February 11, 2005

COSTA Rica reduced the annualnumber of cases of spina bifida in newbornsby 31.5% from 1999-2003, thanksto the addition of vitamins and folic acidin the food that women of reproductiveage eat, as well as dietary supplements,officials announced this week.Spina bifida is a neural tube defectthat happens in the first month of pregnancywhen the spinal column doesn’tclose completely. According to the SpinaBifida Association of America, the effectsof the condition vary – up to 90% of childrenwith the worst form of spina bifidahave hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain)and must have surgery to insert a “shunt”that helps drain the fluid – the shunt staysin place for the lifetime of theperson. Other conditions include full orpartial paralysis, bladder and bowel controldifficulties, learning disabilities,depression, allergy to latex, and socialand sexual issues.Costa Rican health authorities considerthe reduction an important achievementbecause after congenital heart disease,deformation is the highest cause ofinfant mortality.While in 1999 there were 54 registeredcases of newborns with defects inthe neural tube caused by spina bifida, in2003 there were only 37, according to theCosta Rican Institute of Education,Nutrition, and Health.The rate of defects of the neural tubewas 9.42 for every 10,000 newborns in1999, and 5.07 in 2003.In comparison, spina bifida occursin 7 of every 10,000 live births in theUnited States, according to the SpinaBifida Association.The decrease in Costa Rica can likelybe attributed to measures that enrichwomen’s diets with vitamins and folic acid,such as with supplements and their additionto flour, corn flour, rice and milk.Since April 2003, the Costa RicanSocial Security System (Caja), whichmanages public health care, has suppliedfolic acid pills to more than 1 millionwomen ages 15-49 throughout the country,the daily La Nación reported.“The neural tube closes on the 27thday of a fetus’ development,” geneticpediatrician Lila Umaña told La Nación.“Therefore, it’s important to emphasizethe supplementation of folic acid beforeand after conception, especially in thefirst days. This reduces the risk that thechild is born with problems up to 80%.”

You may be interested

Costa Rica issues Yellow Alerts due to heavy rainfall
Costa Rica
2480 views
Costa Rica
2480 views

Costa Rica issues Yellow Alerts due to heavy rainfall

The Tico Times - April 15, 2021

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) on Thursday established Yellow Alerts due to weather that is impacting much of Costa Rica.…

How to track vaccine updates in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
4 views
Costa Rica
4 views

How to track vaccine updates in Costa Rica

The Tico Times - April 15, 2021

Here at The Tico Times, we provide the latest updates on everything related to the coronavirus pandemic in Costa Rica.…

Latin America pandemic recovery lagging, IMF says
Latin America
4 views
Latin America
4 views

Latin America pandemic recovery lagging, IMF says

AFP - April 15, 2021

Latin America's recovery from the pandemic crisis is lagging the rest of the world and the economy will not return…