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Effect of Folic Acid Treatment on Premature Infants
  1. P. M. M. Roberts,
  2. D. E. Arrowsmith,
  3. A. V. C. Lloyd,
  4. M. E. Monk-Jones


    After finding that a group of premature infants became extremely deficient in folate after 3 months of age, a comparable group of premature infants was treated with 100 μg folic acid given orally daily starting at 28 days of age. Haemoglobin and red cell folate levels were followed in this group of infants and were compared with those in the group originally studied.

    In both groups Hb levels fell from birth to the lowest levels at about 2 months of age. In the treated group mean Hb at this age was 10·3 g/100 ml, whereas in the untreated group it fell to 8·3 g/100 ml. After 2 months of age the mean Hb level rose at the same rate of 0·023 g/100 ml per day in both groups. The treated group maintained a mean Hb level 2·27 g/100 ml higher than the untreated group at every age from 3 to 6 months.

    Red cell folate values in the untreated group showed a steady fall up to 6 months, but the treated group showed a marked rise, starting on average 10 days after the giving of folate supplements. Red cell folate levels of this treated group remained well above the levels found in the untreated group until at least 6 months of age.

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