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Neural tube defects

Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord. They happen in the first month of pregnancy, often before the woman is aware that she is pregnant.

The most common such defects are spina bifida, in which the spinal column does not close completely, and anencephaly, in which the brain and cranium fail to develop. Most babies with anencephaly are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.

Most cases of neural tube defect can be prevented by ensuring adequate levels of folic acid.

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