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.