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D. One Vitamin Makes A Difference

Narrator: This is Science Today. Here's another reason we should eat our fruits and vegetables: folic acid, a B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, beans and orange juice. If a mother doesn't enough folic acid in the first month of pregnancy -- before she even knows she's pregnant -- she risks having a child with a serious birth defect called spina bifida, which causes paralysis and other problems. Even worse, according to Dr. Patrick Romano of the University of California, Davis, she risks having a baby with anencephaly, in which the brain doesn't develop.

Romano: So anencephalic infants almost always die within days or weeks after birth, and they have no higher level brain function at all.

Narrator: Romano recommends adding folic acid to the nation's grain supply, which would prevent hundreds of birth defects a year, and save up to a quarter of a billion dollars a year as well.

Romano: It's a relatively small number of cases that would be prevented, but of course the human and economic impact of these defects is tremendous.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.