October 05, 2010 15:34 ET

Spina Bifida Association Launches New Programs in Honor of Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  Every day, an average of 8 births are affected by Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States, with more than 166,000 Americans affected. Defined as a neural tube defect, Spina Bifida happens when the spinal column doesn't close completely. Although the exact cause of Spina Bifida is not known, research studies have shown that if a woman takes 400 mcg of folic acid every day and before she becomes pregnant, she reduces her risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida or another neural tube defect by as much as 70%.

In honor of Spina Bifida Awareness Month, the Spina Bifida Association is launching new online programs to promote the prevention of Spina Bifida and to enhance the lives of those affected. These programs include:

  • SB University (SBU)(, a new online educational program featuring taped sessions from the 2010 National Conference as well as monthly live seminars conducted by Spina Bifida medical professionals from around the country. During Awareness Month, SBU will debut new sessions each Monday.

  • SBTween2Teen (, a new Web site for tweens and teens with Spina Bifida. Complete with blogs, videos, real stories, fact sheets and an Ask the Expert feature, the interactive site helps tweens and teens navigate the difficult road to adulthood. There is even a social networking component run through Facebook, allowing tweens and teens to interact with one another and build peer-to-peer relationships!

  • Preparations, a new transition-focused Web site launching in late October allowing parents, caregivers, and clinicians to answer specific questions with regard to a child's developmental milestones. This tool can even help young adults remedy some transitional challenges.

The Spina Bifida Association is committed to its message of hope and prevention. There are currently over 65 million women in the US who could become pregnant and each one is at risk of having a baby born with Spina Bifida. Since Spina Bifida occurs during the first month of pregnancy (even before most women know they are pregnant), it is very important for women to take proper precautions to help try to prevent it. Families with a history of Spina Bifida should take extra dosages of folic acid prior to pregnancy. Hear one mom's message:
For more information, tips and resources, visit:

About Spina Bifida Association
The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) serves adults and children who live with the challenges of Spina Bifida. Since 1973, SBA has been the only national voluntary health agency solely dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with Spina Bifida and those whose lives are touched by this challenging birth defect. Its tools are education, advocacy, research and service. Through its network of chapters, SBA has a presence in more than 125 communities nationwide and touches thousands of people each year. For more information visit:

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