Many Newborns Not Getting Vital Tests (cont.)

Dr. Howse says the March of Dimes urges Congress to act and to appropriate $25 million to fund Title 26 of the Children's Health Act of 2000, to help improve and strengthen state newborn screening programs.

The metabolic disorders on the March of Dimes-recommended list for screening are: phenylketonuria (PKU); congenital hypothyroidism; congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH); biotinidase deficiency; maple syrup urine disease; galactosemia; homocystinuria; sickle cell anemia; and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency. The March of Dimes and the American Academy of Pediatrics also advise a test for hearing deficiency for all newborns.

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 will usually be re-tested and given treatment as soon as possible, before becoming seriously ill from the disease.

Currently, parents seeking screening for disorders not currently done by their state must arrange privately for their newborn to be screened, often with additional out-of-pocket expense. Parents are encouraged to check with their state's Department of Health to determine what newborn screening tests are offered. In some states, approval and funding of expanded screening may be in development. In other states, governors or legislators may need encouragement to give attention and resources to these programs.

To learn about the tests offered by your state, see the list at marchofdimes.com/nbs.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects 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 five-year campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish Web site at nacersano.org.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects 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 five-year campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Spanish Web site at www.nacersano.org or its English website at www.marchofdimes.com.

Source: March of Dimes press release, June 30, 2004


Last Editorial Review: 6/30/2004



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