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Spina Bifida


While the medical profession does not yet have the knowledge to guarantee prevention of spina bifida, it is known that women who supplement their diets with folic acid prior to pregnancy and/or during the early weeks of pregnancy, have a lower than usual risk of producing a baby with a neural tube defect. Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is water soluble and it is an important for cells of a developing embryo, particularly during periods of rapid growth. There is a synthetic form that is found in multi-vitamins, bread, cereal product, and prescription medications. There is also a natural form, known as folate, that is rich in food such as broccoli, spinach, some fruits, and orange juice.



Friedman, J., F. Dill, M. Hayden, B. McGillivray Genetics. Maryland: Williams & Wilkins, 1996.

Nussbaum, Robert L., Roderick R. McInnes, Huntington F. Willard. Genetics in Medicine. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2001.

Rimoin, David L. Emery and Rimoin's Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics. London; New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2002.


Spina Bifida Association of American "The Facts" Spina bifida [cited February 8, 2003]. <http://www.sbaa.org/>.

Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt Bryan Cobb, Ph.D.


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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

—Fluid made in chambers within the brain; this fluid then flows over the surface of the brain and spinal cord, providing nutrition to cells of the nervous system, as well as cushioning.


—A condition or disability present at birth.


—The developmental period after fertilization and the first cell divisions.


—Referring to the period of time of growth and development in the uterus, prior to birth.


—An abnormal accumulation of CSF which, if untreated, can put pressure on the brain, resulting in permanent damage. Sometimes referred to as "water on the brain."


—The three layers of membranes which cover the brain and the spinal cord. The CSF occupies the space between two of the layers.


—The individual bones that together stack up to form the spine.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Spectroscopy to Stoma (pl. stomata)Spina Bifida - Clinical Manifestations, Complications Associated With Spina Bifida, Treatment, Prevention - Diagnosis