In the EU, an estimated 4500 pregnancies are affected by neural tube defects (NTDs) such as Spina Bifida. Despite the well-documented benefits of flour fortification with folic acid (FA) in the prevention of NTDs and the new evidence that provides a better understanding of purported risks associated with FA, European countries have yet to embrace this cost-effective public health initiative.
IF cooperated on a review article with the Flour Fortification Initiative; the Emory Center for Spina Bifida Research, Prevention and Policy; and UNICEF. It has been published in the June issue of the Nutrition Bulletin. The article describes, among others, the financial and emotional impact of NTDs, the cost-effectiveness of FA fortification, and the challenges to and opportunities for mandatory FA fortification in Europe.
The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated modern medical equipment, invaluable for the surgical treatment of children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SB/H). The aid has come after a call from the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Tanzania (ASBAHT) in collaboration with the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI). Chairman of ASBAHT, Mr. Abdulhakim Bayakub, received praise for his endless efforts to make sure that children with SB/H and their parents get proper care and that society accepts these children. Through parent meetings, organised by ASBAHT and supported by MOI, the stigma associated with SB/H is slowly being overcome.
The European Commission has decided to make May 2013 the European Month of the Brain - a full month packed with events and activities to make decision-makers, stakeholders, the media and the public aware of the successes achieved and the challenges still laying ahead for brain research. The European Commission will organise two key events as part of the European Month of the Brain 2013: a conference to showcase European projects in the field and outline future scientific challenges (organised in Brussels on 14 May 2013); a conference on European foresight policy for brain research and healthcare (organised under the Irish EU Presidency in Dublin on 27-28 May 2013).