neural tube defect

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Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). These are birth defects that happen during the first month of pregnancy, usually before a woman knows she is pregnant. As the neural tube forms and closes, it helps form the baby’s brain and skull (upper part of the neural tube), spinal cord, and back bones (lower part of the neural tube).

Anencephaly happens if the upper part of the neural tube does not close all the way. This often results in a baby being born without the front part of the brain (forebrain) and the thinking and coordinating part of the brain (cerebrum). The remaining parts of the brain are often not covered by bone or skin.

Almost all babies born with anencephaly will die shortly after birth. CDC estimates that each year, about 1 in every 4,859 babies in the United States will be born with anencephaly

Molecule of the Day: Folic acid

Folic acid (C19H19N7O6), also known as Vitamin B9, is a yellow powder that is insoluble in water under standard conditions. It is essential to metabolism and cell division, and is found in many fruits and vegetables.

Folic acid (in the form of tetrahydrofolate [THF], a metabolite) plays an integral role in methylation and other metabolic reactions by carrying one-carbon groups that react with other substrates. Additionally, it also is a key intermediate in the synthesis of purines and hence DNA via N10-formyl-THF (see diagram below).

It is also essential in the process of cell division, since the methylation and demethylation of DNA, which controls gene expression, and the synthesis of nitrogenous bases, which is required for DNA replication, are absolutely key to this process. 

Folic acid is commonly found as a food additive, as it lowers the probability of neural tube defects occurring in pregnant women. These are characterised by openings in the spinal cord or brain which fail to close during pregnancy, and can result in the death of the foetus. Hence, the fortification of cereal grains and other foods with folic acid is mandated by many governments.

The inhibition of dihydropteroate synthase, an enzyme that synthesises tetrahydrofolate, is one of the key mechanisms that antibacterial agents can target. Sulfonamides, which are similar in structure to 4-aminobenzoic acid, the natural substrate, are reversible inhibitors of the enzyme. As a result, insufficient folic acid is produced in bacteria, and they either stop dividing or die. 

This makes sulfonamides seem dangerous - wouldn’t this affect human cells as well? However, bacterial cells produce their own folic acid, whereas human cells do not; instead, we absorb it from our diet, while bacterial cells lack the ability to do so. As a result, sulfonamides selectively kill bacterial cells, leaving our cells intact and healthy.

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Anencephaly is the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp that occurs during embryonic development. It is a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the rostral (head) end of the neural tube fails to close, usually between the 23rd and 26th day following conception. it is accepted that children born with this disorder usually only lack a telencephalon, the largest part of the brain consisting mainly of the cerebral hemispheres, including the neocortex, which is responsible for cognition. The remaining structure is usually covered only by a thin layer of membrane— skin, bone, meninges, etc. are all lacking. With very few exceptions,infants with this disorder do not survive longer than a few hours or possibly days after their birth.

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trufflesome  asked:

MYELOMENINGOCOELE IS THE MOST SEVERE FORM OF DYSRAPHISM AND HAS A HIGHER RISK OF HYDROCEPHALUS DUE TO CHIARI II MALFORMATION.. NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS CAN BE PREVENTED BY FOLIC ACID PRENATAL SUPPLEMENTATION !!!

woahh!! Chill. Calm down. Everything’s going to be alright! 😂

(I never realized how alarming all caps is.. that’s probably how you felt when I was shouting at you!! Hahaha. My eyes were like wide open LOL)