The Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (CBDRP), which is comprised of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) and several state birth defects surveillance registries, recently held its annual meeting November 14-16, 2006 in Atlanta.
Research scientist, project managers, clinicians, data managers, and several other representatives from federally funded centers across nine states, namely, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Utah, attended the annual meeting.
The CBDRP assembled in Atlanta in order to assess the current status of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS). The NBDPS is an on-going, population-based case-control study designed to identify and understand preventable causes of common birth defects. Over the three-day period, many aspects of the national study were discussed and reviewed, particularly policy and procedures, project updates, and methodology. Several sessions consisted of scientific presentations in the form oral and poster presentations. For instance, as lead investigator, Mark A. Canfield, Ph.D., manager of the Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch and co-principal investigator for the Texas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention of the Texas Department of State Health Services, presented findings from: (1) Hispanic Ethnicity, Periconceptional Folic Acid Intake, and Neural Tube Defects and (2) Racial/Ethnic Patterns for Selected Birth Defects in the United States. Also presented were findings from a project entitled ?Maternal Exposures to Cigarette Smoke, Alcohol, and Street Drugs and Neural Tube Defect Occurrence in Offspring,? led by Lucina Suarez, Ph.D., Director of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Closing remarks for the annual meeting were provided by Jennita Reefhuis, Ph.D., who is the new NBDPS principal investigator from the CDC.
While maintaining the highest level of confidentiality and ethical standards, it is expected that as more cases of birth defects are ascertained through the NBDPS, it will allow for the accumulation of enough information to enhance our ability to study birth defect etiology in increasingly meaningful ways.