Folic acid linked to lower child cancer risks

According to new research published in the Pediatrics journal, levels of two rare childhood cancers have decreased after the USA introduced the addition of folic acid to grain products.

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by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 22nd May 2012

The study was led by Amy M Linabery from the division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and colleagues from Brown School Department of Pediatrics, Washington University in St Louis and the University of Minnesota Cancer Centre.  They examined the relationship between trends in specific childhood cancers and the addition of folic acid to grain products.

Results

The researchers found that 8829 children from birth to four years of age were diagnosed with ‘malignancies’ during the period 1986-2008.  Overall, cancer rates were similar before and after mandatory folic-acid fortification, but for two specific rare cancers, levels dropped in the period when folic acid had been added to grain products. Wilms tumor (a kidney cancer), dropped from roughly18 cases per one million children each year, to just under 15 cases per million. The cancer known as a primary neuroectodermal tumor dropped from roughly four cases per one million each year, to just over two cases per million.

Conclusions

The researchers recognised that while there are limitations in their study, ‘these results provide support for a decrease in WT and possibly PNET incidence, but not other childhood cancers, after US folic acid fortification’.

 

Source:  Pediatrics, Childhood Cancer Incidence Trends in Association With US Folic Acid Fortification (1986–2008), 21st May 2012

Photo: lindaaslund flickr

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