sealPurdue News

February 20, 2003

Videoconference to highlight folic acid research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A videoconference for educators and health care professionals highlighting folic acid and its contribution to good health will be broadcast from Purdue University on the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 20.

"This program will present the latest research reinforcing the concept that folic acid consumption by women of childbearing age is essential to the health of their babies," said Donna Vandergraff, Purdue Extension specialist in foods and nutrition. "In addition, we will present research that shows that men and women of all ages benefit from folic acid consumption."

Vandergraff will be the facilitator of the free videoconference, which will feature presentations by Carol Boushey, assistant professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue, and Godfrey Oakley, visiting professor of epidemiology at Emory University. Oakley is former director of the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If women have enough folic acid in their bodies before they become pregnant, the vitamin can decrease the risk of birth defects of the baby's brain or spine. There are some indications that folic acid also may reduce the risk for other birth defects of the heart, limbs and face, Vandergraff said. Some studies show that folic acid also may help protect women and men from heart disease, stroke, cervical and colon cancer, and possibly breast cancer.

The videoconference, Folic Acid through the Life Cycle, can be viewed at participating IHETS receive sites. There are more than 300 IHETS sites around the state at Purdue Extension offices, schools, hospitals, colleges and universities.

Viewers will be able to ask questions via phone, fax and e-mail.

To find the closest IHETS site, use the online IHETS database or contact Randy Spears, the distance education coordinator in Purdue Agricultural Communications, at or (765) 494-2110.

Not all IHETS sites will participate in the program, and people who want to view the program should ask the site nearest to them to make arrangements to receive it. Only registered sites can view the program, and receive sites must register with Purdue Agricultural Communications. To register a site, contact Bonnie Sprague in Purdue Agricultural Communications at or (765) 494-8396.

Site registration information and more information about the videoconference are available online. Handout materials for participants will be available at that Web site about a week before the videoconference.

The videoconference will originate from Purdue and is presented by the Indiana Folic Acid Council. Convening members of the council are the March of Dimes, Indiana Chapter; Purdue Extension; Purdue Department of Foods and Nutrition; and the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics. The Indiana Folic Acid Council and this conference are funded by a Folic Acid Council Leadership Award from the March of Dimes.

Writer: Frank J. Koontz, (765) 496-2384,

Source: Donna Vandergraff, (765) 494-8538,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

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