The projects underway include studies of the fetal effects of anticonvulsant drugs taken by pregnant women. One major activity is the North American AED (antiepileptic drug) Pregnancy Registry, which was established in 1997. Over 8,000 women in the United States and Canada have enrolled while pregnant. The apparent safety of over 30 different anticonvulsant drugs is being evaluated. Several significant new findings have been reported.
Another major project is the study of the causes of malformations identified in newborn infants at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Active Malformations Surveillance Program began in 1972 and has identified over 250,000 affected newborn infants. The apparent causes have been analyzed and tabulated and show a high degree of heterogeneity. This project is supported by funds provided by the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which is coordinated by the Birth Defects Center at the Centers for Disease Control.
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