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Seasonal Variation of NTD Rates in Rivne - Ukraine

Bohdana Ievtushok. 1

1 Medical Student, Ternopil Medical University, Ukraine

Background: Neural Tube Defects (NTD) are reduced by supplements of folic acid, which sustains the view that folate deficiency may be a cause of these highly lethal and unusually common malformations in Ukraine, particularly in the Chornobyl impacted Ukrainian Polissia region.

Method: We analyzed estimated times of conception by season. The data analyzed was from Rivne: 217 NTD patients born between 2000-2006, of which 179 (82%) were isolated NTDs.

Results: Most conceptions of isolated NTD cases (29%) occurred during winter (December, January, February); 22% in spring; 22% in the summer (June, July, August); and 22% in the fall. The seasonality trend for complex NTDs was stronger, 39% and 26% in the winter - spring period and a decrease to 21% and 13% during summer - autumn.

Conclusion: The seasonal variations in prevalence of NTD rates have been noted in other regions of the world. Because the Polissia region in Rivne oblast, as Polissia regions elsewhere, is a unique ecological and demographic zone, the higher rates of NTD in the Rivne - Polissia population may also be elevated in Polissia populations in other areas of Ukraine and Belarus. The reliance of the "Polischuks" (woodland people) on home and locally grown nutrients (see companion abstract by L. Yevtushok), the seasonal NTD variations may be indicative, at least in part, of folate deficiencies related to the winter and spring seasons within the overall possible confounding effects of chronic low dose radiation since DNA repair is folate dependent.

The poster was presented at the 1-st Central and Eastern European Summit
on Preconception Health and Prevention of Birth Defects
(Budapest, August 27-30, 2008)


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Poster



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