Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Neural Tube Defect

Failure of the neural tube to close normally at day 28, resulting in symptomatic alpha fetoprotein in the mother’s blood stream. The risk of NTD is about 0.1% (1/1000) but increases greatly (to 10%) if there is a previously affected sibling, suggesting a partial genetic etiology. However, taking the vitamin folic acid during pregnancy lowers the risk of an NTD pregnancy by 70%. NTDs can manifest as spina bifida or anencephaly. A multifactorial condition.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"