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For many years, Shine has fought for the introduction of mandatory fortification.  Long standing research has shown increasing your Folic Acid intake prior to conception reduces the chances of a Neural Tube Defect (NTD) developing during pregnancy.
 
Whilst current guidelines recommend that women take a 400mcg dose of Folic Acid every day for at least three months before trying for a baby, recent statistics show that supplementation is failing to significantly reduce the number of pregnancies affected.  That is not to say it is not effective, but with approximately 40% of UK pregnancies found to be unplanned, it is often a case of ‘too little too late’ in terms of receiving the necessary advice and support.
 
We feel it is time for the government to act and will be relaunching our campaign this May in light of new findings which have dispelled the previous idea that a ‘safe upper limit’ should be adhered to.

Some Folic Acid Facts:

  • Folic acid has been proved to reduce the chance of pregnancy affected by NTD
  • It needs to be taken well before conception to work - supplements have not been successful.
  • Only 31% of women take the right dose at the right time, with many more not starting until they’re already pregnant, when it’s too late.
  • Around 75% of women of childbearing age have blood folate below the level which protects them best from developing an NTD during pregnancy
  • Men are often low in folate, not just women.
  • Many teenagers are clinically deficient in folate, risking their long term health
  • Low folate increases the risk of dementia, depression and anaemia
  • Folic acid may reduce death by strokes
  • USA and Canada have fortified for 20 years with reduction in NTD pregnancies by as many as 50% in some areas
  • 81 countries fortify common foods round the world.

As a community, we need your support. 

Please write, call or e-mail your local MP and ask them to attend our special parliamentary briefing on Wednesday 2nd May.  To coincide with our annual Folic Acid Awareness Day, we’ll be holding a Q & A in parliament talking to MP’s directly about the benefits of fortification and we need you to help us get them there.
 
The briefing, due to be hosted by Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will see Shine bring together experts from the world of science, health and nutrition in a bid to follow in the footsteps of 81 countries world wide which, since introducing fortification, have all seen their rates of NTD affected pregnancy fall.
 
A template letter is available to download below:
 
 
  • Fortification of Flour with Folic Acid - Template letter to MP
  • Download file

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Did You Know?

Some babies with spina bifida are now operated on before they are born, via keyhole surgery.

Hydrocephalus can be congenital or acquired.

NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus) is an excessive build-up of fluid in the head.

Hydrocephalus is a build up of excess fluid in the brain.

Some 11 - 35% of people with Intracranial Hypertension recover spontaneously.

Most babies with spina bifida undergo surgery within 48 hours of birth.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that all children are immunized, no opportunity to immunize should be missed.”

If you have spina bifida +/or hydrocephalus you should receive the same vaccinations as any others, when going abroad.

Hydrocephalus comes from the Greek "hydro" meaning water and "cephalie", meaning brain.

Some forms of hydrocephalus require no specific treatment.

Medical advice should always be sought if shunt infection is suspected.

Shunt: a device that diverts accumulated cerebro-spinal fluid around the obstructed pathways back to the bloodstream.

Possible signs of chronic shunt blockage include: fatigue, general malaise or behavioural changes.

A shunt alert card should be carried at all times by people with hydrocephalus treated by a shunt.

Possible signs of acute shunt blockage may include: visual disturbances, drowsiness and seizures.

Symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus are similar to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease or simply increasing age.

NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus) occurs most often in people aged over 60.

Benign Intracranial Hypertension aka Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension affects about one or two in every 100,000 people!

Symptoms associated with raised intracranial pressure; headache, visual disturbances, photophobia, vomiting, problems with balance...

Diagnosis of Intracranial Hypertension is by scan + measurement of the CSF pressure.

Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of developing hydrocephalus.

Shine can raise money by recycling your used inkjet cartridges, toners or CDs and DVDs.

Para-athletes with spina bifida and hydrocephalus compete in sports ranging from cycling to dressage.

Hydrocephalus may affect memory, concentration and behaviour.

The usual treatment for hydrocephalus is to insert a shunt into the brain.

CSF stands for cerebro-spinal fluid.

Benny Bear is a teddy with hydrocephalus who helps children understand the condition.

Shine is always looking for Marathon Runners to help with fundraising.

Spina bifida occulta is a hidden form of spina bifida.

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