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Efficacy of folic acid supplementation in stroke prevention: a meta-analysis

by NYSCA Staff Writer | 6/4/2007 11:24:47 AM

Prof Xiaobin Wang, Xianhui Qin, Hakan Demirtas PhD, Jianping Li MD, Guangyun Mao MD, Prof Yong Huo MD, Prof Ningling Sun MD, Prof Lisheng Liu MD and Prof Xiping Xu MD ABSTRACT Background The efficacy of treatments that lower homocysteine concentrations in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease remains controversial. Our aim was to do a meta-analysis of relevant randomised trials to assess the efficacy of folic acid supplementation in the prevention of stroke. Methods We collected data from eight randomised trials of folic acid that had stroke reported as one of the endpoints. Relative risk (RR) was used as a measure of the effect of folic acid supplementation on the risk of stroke with a random effect model. The analysis was further stratified by factors that could affect the treatment effects. Findings Folic acid supplementation significantly reduced the risk of stroke by 18% (RR 0•82, 95% CI 0•68–1•00; p=0•045). In the stratified analyses, a greater beneficial effect was seen in those trials with a treatment duration of more than 36 months (0•71, 0•57–0•87; p=0•001), a decrease in the concentration of homocysteine of more than 20% (0•77, 0•63–0•94; p=0•012), no fortification or partly fortified grain (0•75, 0•62–0•91; p=0•003), and no history of stroke (0•75, 0•62–0•90; p=0•002). In the corresponding comparison groups, the estimated RRs were attenuated and insignificant. Interpretation Our findings indicate that folic acid supplementation can effectively reduce the risk of stroke in primary prevention. The Lancet 2007; 369:1876-1882

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