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Prenatal vitamins may reduce brain cancer

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Women who take multivitamins early in pregnancy may reduce the risk that their child will develop some types of brain tumors, a U.S. study finds.

Pregnant women are urged to take multivitamins that contain folic acid early in pregnancy to reduce their fetus's risk of developing a neural tube defect, but new research suggests that multivitamins early in pregnancy may also prevent some brain tumors, according to study leader Greta R. Bunin of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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"Children whose mothers took multivitamins close to the time of conception seemed less likely to suffer medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain," said Bunin.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, found that taking multivitamins later in pregnancy did not significantly reduce the child's risk of two types of childhood brain tumors.

"Our findings suggest that the time close to conception may be a critical period in the development of these tumors," said Bunin. "However, most women do not yet know they are pregnant at this very early stage. That is why women of reproductive age are advised to take multivitamins to prevent neural tube defects even if they are not trying to get pregnant."

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