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More than 40 members of Congress called for the FDA to allow folic acid to be added to corn masa on Tuesday. Advocates say such a move could help prevent devastating birth defects like those seen in three counties in Central Washington.

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Advocates have been urging the FDA to allow corn masa to be fortified with folic acid for years, with the goal of curbing rare birth defects among Hispanic children. The FDA hasn't budged so far, but that could change as the agency reviews new research.

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Washington state Medicaid officials are changing the rule for coverage of vitamins that contain folic acid — a change that may reduce the risk of birth defects like those seen in an ongoing cluster in Central Washington.

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The Food and Drug Administration will review a long-delayed petition calling for the voluntary addition of folic acid to corn masa to prevent neural-tube defects such as those seen in Washington’s cluster.

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The federal Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review a long-delayed petition to fortify corn masa flour with folic acid, a move advocates say is crucial to preventing devastating birth defects like those seen in an ongoing cluster of cases in Washington state.

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As 2011 unfolds, I’d like to share some of my favorite health journalism – much but not all of it policy-related – from 2010. This is definitely not a best-of list, but rather journalism that can inspire and teach us.

Here are my first five picks, in no particular order of importance. I’ll share the next five next week.

Happy New Year!

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This story takes a closer look at why Latinos have higher rates of birth defects of the brain and spine and what's being done about it. It is the first of three fellowship stories about health disparities in Utah by race/ethnicity and geography.

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Annie Burke-Doe is a faculty member at the University of St. Augustine's San Diego campus. Previously, she was an assistant professor of physical therapy at California State University, Fresno. She received her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of the Pacific in Stockton and her master's in physical therapy from University of the Pacific. She works with children and adults with neurologic disorders, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, duchenes muscular dystrophy, metabolic disorders, stroke, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

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