Friday, May 25, 2012

Folic Acid Reduce Risk of Cancer in Children

One more proof of the importance of folic acid for pregnant women and fetuses. A latest research indicates, the consumption of fortified foods or fortified folic acid can reduce the incidence of kidney cancer and brain tumors in children.

Thus the results of the study Kimberly J. Johnson, PhD, assistant professor at Brown School, Washington University, St. Louis, and Amy Linabery, PhD, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.

Reduction in cancer risk, especially on the type of Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer), and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) of brain cancers.

Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated the fortification of foods with folic acid because previous research suggests that prenatal consumption of folic acid significantly reduced the incidence of neural tube defects in babies.

"Our study is the largest to date to suggest that folic acid fortification can also lower the incidence of some types of childhood cancer in the United States," said Johnson.

"We found that there was an increase in cases of Wilms tumor (kidney cancer) in 1986-1997, but subsequently declined. Decline is apparently coincided exactly with folic acid fortification," he explained

Whereas in the case of PNET (brain cancer) also decreased after the year 1986-1993 has increased. Changes in the trend does not coincide exactly with folic acid fortification, but it coincided with the introduction of a recommendation in 1992 for women of childbearing age to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.

In his study researchers used data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Results Program (SEER) since 1986-2008. The data includes information about cancer cases in the various fields in the U.S. since 1973. The study involved 8829 children, from birth to age four years was diagnosed with cancer.

"There is a decrease in Wilms tumor and PNET in children detected by the analysis of some data. Most importantly, the pace of decline in Wilms tumor is found in a small study conducted in Ontario, Canada, published in 2011," said Johnson.

"Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to rule out other explanations," he added.

Johnson noted that one concern is facing a country to decide whether or not to enrich foods with folic acid to reduce neural tube defects in newborns. The reason is there is a possibility that fortification can cause unwanted damage, such as causing a new cancer or pre-cancerous.

"Here (in this finding), we show that folic acid fortification would not increase the incidence of cancer in children, which is good news," he said.

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