State newborn screening programs advance, but most infants still not fully covered

July 12, 2005

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., JULY 12, 2005 -- Expanded newborn screening is now required by law in dozens of states, but most infants still are not covered by the full panel of 29 tests recommended by experts, according to the March of Dimes 2005 state-by-state report card on newborn screening.

The March of Dimes recommends that every baby born in the United States receive screening for a uniform panel of 29 disorders that includes metabolic conditions and hearing deficiency. All of these disorders can be successfully managed or treated to prevent severe consequences, if diagnosed early.

"Parents need to know that the extent of newborn screening for serious and treatable disorders depends entirely on the state in which their baby is born," says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "For infants affected with these conditions, the tests can mean the difference between life and death, or health and lifelong disability."

As of June 1, 2005, 23 states (see attached list and map) have expanded their newborn screening programs to include more than 20 of the 29 disorders recommended in the 2005 report by the American College of Medical Genetics -- accounting for about 38 percent of the approximately four million babies born each year in the U.S. Twelve states -- which account for about 20 percent of babies -- require screening for between 10 and 20 disorders. Another 15 states, plus the District of Columbia -- involving about 43 percent of babies -- currently screen for fewer than 10 conditions.

"This is a snapshot of the progress that's been made by states in newborn screening over the past year or so," says Dr. Howse. "There is a growing understanding that newborn screening is a simple, safe, and efficient way to prevent a potentially devastating problem. We applaud those governors, legislators, parents, and volunteers who have come together to make the health of newborns a high priority. However, much more work remains to be done. For example, only Mississippi --which is home to just 1 percent of babies born in the U.S. each year -- currently provides screening for all 29 recommended conditions. Only eight states are screening for cystic fibrosis, despite the fact that CF is one of the most common genetic diseases in America."

"We urge continued expansion of newborn screening programs so that all babies across America will receive the benefits of testing for all of these 29 core conditions," Dr. Howse says.

Newborn screening is done by testing a few drops of blood, usually from a newborn's heel, before hospital discharge. If a result is positive, the infant is re-tested and given treatment as soon as possible, before becoming seriously ill from the disease. In states where testing is limited, parents can arrange for additional tests, but these often come at additional expense.

A new brochure entitled "Newborn Screening," containing a list of the 29 disorders and other important information, can be ordered from the home page of the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com.

The list of tests currently provided by each state also is available at www.marchofdimes.com/nbs. Parents should check with their state Health Department for any updates since June 1 or check online at http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu/resources/consumer/statemap.htm.
-end-
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to reduce the rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish Web language site at nacersano.org.

March of Dimes Foundation

Related Infants Articles from Brightsurf:

Most infants are well even when moms are infected by COVID-19
Infants born to women with COVID-19 showed few adverse outcomes, according to the first report in the country of infant outcomes through eight weeks of age.

Probiotic may help treat colic in infants
Probiotics -- or 'good bacteria' -- have been used to treat infant colic with varying success.

Deaf infants' gaze behavior more advanced than that of hearing infants
Deaf infants who have been exposed to American Sign Language are better at following an adult's gaze than their hearing peers, supporting the idea that social-cognitive development is sensitive to different kinds of life experiences.

Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).

Young infants with fever may be more likely to develop infections
Infants with a high fever may be at increased risk for infections, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine.

Early term infants less likely to breastfeed
A new, prospective study provides evidence that 'early term' infants (those born at 37-38 weeks) are less likely than full-term infants to be breastfeed within the first hour and at one month after birth.

Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and University of Washington looked at the mechanisms involved in language learning among nine-month-olds, the youngest population known to be studied in relation to on-screen learning.

Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants
Majority of infants with food-induced anaphylaxis present with hives and vomiting, suggesting there is less concern for life-threatening response to early food introduction.

Non-dairy drinks can be dangerous for infants
A brief report published in Acta Paediatrica points to the dangers of replacing breast milk or infant formula with a non-dairy drink before one year of age.

Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason
A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected.

Read More: Infants News and Infants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.