Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Groundbreaking medical discovery unveiled by AMC experts

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In a collaborative effort that transcends borders, researchers from Andhra Medical College (AMC) have achieved a groundbreaking discovery in the fight against Neural Tube Defects (NTDs), particularly addressing Spina Bifida. This rare condition hinders the proper development of the spinal cord in the womb, resulting in permanent disability. The study, published in the prestigious “Journal of the American Medical Association’s Network” on March 8th, 2024, outlines an innovative approach that utilizes specially fortified salt to significantly reduce the risk of NTDs.
The first-of-its-kind study in India, conducted by a team of experts from AMC and international collaborators, focuses on the crucial role of folic acid intake before and during pregnancy in preventing NTDs. Dr G Butchi Raju, the Principal of AMC, expressed pride in the team’s contribution during a media briefing organized by PRJ Gangadaram Research & Academic Cell, Department of Neurosurgery, AMC here on Saturday, foreseeing a potential global impact on preventing NTDs. The researchers highlighted the positive outcomes and the potential of fortified salt as a simple yet effective solution to a pressing health concern.
The study, conducted in four villages of Alluri Seetharama Raju District, involved the distribution of folic acid-fortified salt to 1,200 participants over four months. Blood tests conducted post-intervention revealed a significant increase in folic acid levels among participants, indicating a reduced risk of NTDs. Notably, no adverse side effects were reported.
Dr. M.V. Vijaya Sekhar, Head of Neurosurgery at Rangaraya Medical College, emphasized the severity of NTDs and the importance of preventive measures, especially in areas with limited access to treatment. The fortified salt solution offers a readily available approach to tackling this critical public health issue. The study’s findings suggest that fortified salt could serve as a simple yet effective solution to this significant challenge, positioning AMC as a frontrunner in innovative public health interventions.
The collaborative effort involved a team of experts from India and abroad, including Dr. MV Vijaya Sekhar, Dr. B Hayagriva Rao, Dr. Phani Madhavi, and Mr. Anil Kumar. Noteworthy contributions also came from Dr. Jogi V Pattisapu of UCF’s College of Medicine – USA, Dr. Godfrey P Oakley, MD, and Dr. Vijaya Kancherla from Emory University, USA. The study received funding from the PRJ Gangadharam Research and Academic Cell and Dr. Jogi Pattisapu.
Anil Kumar, the project coordinator, commended the community’s pivotal role in driving public health initiatives forward. This research marks a significant milestone in preventing birth defects, showcasing the effectiveness of collaborative efforts in promoting public health on a global scale. The potential impact of this innovative approach in preventing NTDs is indeed a beacon of hope for communities worldwide.

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