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Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program

Participation at the National Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Inaugural Conference

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Dr. N. Yuskiv,
Volyn UABDP Center Medical Geneticist

During September 17-19, 2002 the 1st Inaugural Conference of the US National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) was held under the CDC aegis. NCBDDD was created as a result of US Congress proclaiming the Children Health Act signed by the US President in October 17, 2001. Since the creation of NCBDDD, it plays an important role in collaboration of both researchers and practicians who work with birth defects. It also determines the new research fields and designs the new strategies in birth defects prevention. The President's wife Mrs. Laura Bush was invited to the Conference opening.

The Conference aim was sharing skills and new research results, choosing the new strategies in birth defects and developmental disabilities prevention and promotion of collaboration among the partners who work to achieve common goals.

The main theme of the conference was "Folic acid and birth defects prevention". There were held an Annual Folic Acid National Meeting and plenary session devoted to the 10th anniversary of the First Public Health Service Recommendations concerning folic acid usage as a method of primary prevention of neural tube defects. There were discussed some successes in the reduction of neural tube defects cases, recommendations concerning birth defects prevention, plans and perspectives of the future researches concerning folic acid influence on birth defects and other conditions.

Collaborative sessions were also devoted to birth defects and chromosomal pathology, early deafness identification, epidemiology of autism, teratology and teratogenes, role of prenatal infection in birth defects and cerebral palsy occurrence, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental subnormality and developmental disabilities etc.

In the conference context there was a meeting of the USA National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) members, which is headed by Dr. Lowell Sever (Texas University, USA). It is an independent organization, which supports and unites birth defects monitoring systems in the USA. At the moment it includes 30 states.

On the 20th of September there was an associated meeting of the members of the USA National Birth Defects Prevention Network and International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems.

At the CDC conference the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program presented 2 poster reports based on the materials of epidemiological researches, which were provided on the basis of the Newborn Registry database of Volyn and Rivne Oblasts for 2 years. The title of the first poster report was "Prevalence of Down Syndrome in Western Ukraine, 2000-2001". This research is very interesting, because of the fact that this region includes rayons which suffered from Chornobyl Nuclear Plant accident. The conclusion of this work is that Down syndrome rate is 1.8 per 1000 births (it is lower than expected rate). The second poster report was "Prevalence of Spina Bifida, Anencephaly and Encephalocele in Western Ukraine 2000-2001". It is also a good result of the work done by the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program team. It was proved that Neural tube defects rate was two times higher than in the USA before the beginning of the folic acid fortification. Thus, the first epidemiological researches from Ukraine, based on data according to the international standards were represented. The members of the conference were very interested in the presented materials.

Drs. N. Yuskiv (left) and W. Wertelecki (UABDP Director) near the Ukrainian posters
Drs. N. Yuskiv (left) and W. Wertelecki (UABDP Director)
near the Ukrainian posters

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Sponsor: I.B.I.S. | Site Concept: W. W., S. L. | Page Content: N. Yuskiv
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21/January/2003 sl