Paul Smaglik's article entitled "Folic Acid Deficiency's Role Expands Beyond Birth Defects" (The Scientist, Oct. 13, 1997, page 10) cites several recent epidemiology studies that link folate deficiency with increased plasma levels of homocysteine and heart disease without reviewing the older scientific literature. Such a review would have provided an answer or insight to the question posed in the article as to how a folate deficiency or homocysteinemia is related to heart disease or stroke.

More than four decades ago, research at the University of California, Berkeley was published in the journal Science on the role of biosynthesis of one-carbon methyl groups and transmethylation in susceptibility to experimentally induced vascular disease (L.O. Pilgeram, D.M. Greenberg, Science, 120:760-1, 1954). This research was presented later in a national symposium sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (L.O. Pilgeram, Federation Proceedings, 14:728-32, 1955)....

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