Objectives The association between ambient heat and neural tube defects has received limited attention, despite imminent climate warming this century. We sought to determine the relationship between elevated outdoor temperatures during neurogenesis and risk of neural tube defects.
Methods We carried out a retrospective cohort study of 887 710 fetuses between 3 and 4 weeks postconception from the months of April through September for 1988–2012 in Quebec, Canada. The exposure was maximum daily temperature and the outcome presence of neural tube defects at delivery. We estimated prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% CIs for the association between maximum temperature and neural tube defects in log-binomial regression models adjusted for maternal characteristics.
Results Relative to 20°C, exposure to temperatures of 30°C was associated with risk of neural tube defects on day 5 (PR 1.56, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.35) and day 6 (PR 1.49, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.21) of the 4th week postconception, during the time of neural tube closure. The trend was apparent for spina bifida and anencephalus/encephalocoele, the main subtypes of neural tube defects. Temperature during the 3rd week postconception was not associated with neural tube defects.
Conclusions Elevated ambient temperatures may be weakly associated with risk of neural tube defects during tube closure.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.