Birth de­fects break­through

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

IN a find­ing bring­ing hope to thou­sands of Aus­tralian cou­ples, pre­vent­ing birth de­fects and mis­car­riage could be as sim­ple as sup­ple­ment­ing a preg­nant woman’s diet with Vi­ta­min B3.

A land­mark Aus­tralian study un­der­taken at the Vic­tor Chang Car­diac Re­search In­sti­tute has iden­ti­fied a new cause of mis­car­riages and mul­ti­ple types of con­gen­i­tal birth de­fects.

More im­por­tantly, though, it has iden­ti­fied a way to pre­vent them. It comes in the form of niacin, oth­er­wise known as Vi­ta­min B3 and typ­i­cally found in meats, leafy green veg­eta­bles and Vegemite.

Lead re­searcher Pro­fes­sor Sally Dun­woodie says the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the dou­ble break­through – hailed as the big­gest since folic acid was iden­ti­fied as a pre­ven­tive of neu­ral tube birth de­fects and spina bi­fida in ba­bies are likely to be “huge”.

“This has the po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the num­ber of mis­car­riages and birth de­fects around the world,” she said yes­ter­day.

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