Folate deficiency, detected by measuring serum and red cell levels, was seen within a group of low birthweight infants who had been followed for a period of 9 months. A similar group treated with 14 × 100 μg folic acid by intramuscular injection over a period of 28 days during the first 5 weeks of life had significantly higher folate levels. There was no evidence of megaloblastic anaemia in the untreated group and no differences from the treated group in haemoglobin concentration or other haematological index except for a significant increase in neutrophils with 5-lobed nuclei at 3 months. We conclude that folate should be given from birth to all infants of low birthweight, but its form, and the route, dosage, and duration of treatment merit further investigation.
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