Folate supplements during pregnancy could protect against leukaemia

December 06, 2001

N.B. Please note that if you are outside North America the embargo for Lancet Press Material is 0001 hours UK Time Friday 7th December 2001.

A population-based study from Western Australia in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests that folate and iron supplementation during pregnancy might be associated with a decreased risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

ALL is the most common childhood cancer in more-developed countries but it has few recognised risk factors or preventive measures. Judith Thompson and colleagues from the Cancer Foundation of Western Australia aimed to determine and assess the risk factors associated with this disease.

The investigators assessed known and suspected risk factors for common ALL diagnosed between 1984 and 1992 of children aged 0-14 years in Western Australia. There were 83 children in the study group and 166 controls matched for age and sex (who were recruited through a postal survey of people randomly selected from the state electoral roll). Mothers of study and control children were interviewed. Fathers completed a self-administered questionnaire.

Unexpectedly, folate or iron supplementation had a protective effect against ALL. Mothers who used folate and iron supplements in pregnancy had more than a 60% reduced risk of having children who developed ALL; this protective effect was reduced to 25% for mothers who only used iron supplements. Further analyses of folate use with or without iron showed that the protective effect varied little by time of first use of supplements or for how long they were taken.

Judith Thompson comments: "Our results, though unexpected, suggest that folate supplementation in pregnancy reduces the risk of common acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in the child."
Contact: Dr Judith R Thompson, 25 Glengariff Drive, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia; T) F) E)


Related Pregnancy Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 has a prolonged effect for many during pregnancy
Symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer for a quarter of the women who participated in a national study led by UC San Francisco and UCLA.

Relaxed through pregnancy
A group of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been able to show that maternal psychological wellbeing during pregnancy has a positive effect on newborn infants.

Trajectories of antidepressant medication use during pregnancy
In an analysis of women who started pregnancy when taking antidepressant medications, investigators identified three trajectories of antidepressant dispensing during pregnancy: more than half stopped their treatment, a quarter maintained their treatment throughout pregnancy, and one-fifth discontinued it for a minimum of three months and then resumed it during the postpartum period.

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.

Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.

Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.

The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.

Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.

Read More: Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to