CMR News Bulletins

picture of two babies

National Birth Defects Prevention Study

The causes of most birth defects are unknown, which makes prevention difficult. The CMR has been designated a Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (CBDRP). Along with six other states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York CBDRP is carrying out the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. This study is an effort to discover the causes of birth defects.

Neural Tube Defects (NTD) and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

There are two relatively common birth defects for which much is known about prevention. The occurrence of Neural Tube Defects (NTD) could be reduced by 50% if ALL women of childbearing age took 0.4mg of folic acid everyday - including before pregnancy. The CMR is currently tracking trends in NTDs to help evaluate the success of the state's folic acid campaign and is developing a recurrence prevention program. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is thought to be the most common non-genetic cause of mental retardation. This condition can not occur without maternal alcohol consumption. Therefore, there is a potential for 100% prevention. The CMR, along with four other states and the CDC, is developing a surveillance system and supporting efforts at earlier recognition so children and families may receive the services they need. Women frequently want to know what they can do to reduce the risk of having a child with a birth defect. This CDC site gives more information about folic acid, FAS and other ways to prevent birth defects.