National Standard for Newborn Screening is Announced

Saturday, May 22, 2010 General News
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States Now Have a National Panel for Guidance

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May, 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New national standards issued today will assist states to align their newborn screening programs with "the most up-to-date research, technology, laboratory and public health standards and practices."

The March of Dimes applauded the announcement that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has adopted national standards for newborn screening as recommended by the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children and endorsed by the March of Dimes. Beginning with a journal commentary in the year 2000 and continuing with the its first Newborn Screening Report Card in 2003, the March of Dimes has called for a national standard to ensure that all babies are screened for these life-threatening, but treatable diseases, regardless of where they live.

Newborn screening is a vital public health activity that is essential for preventing the devastating consequences of certain metabolic, hormonal, genetic and/or functional disorders not clinically recognizable at birth. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential and can make the difference between lifelong impairment and healthy development.

"The issuing of national guidelines is a tremendous step forward," says Jennifer Howse, PhD, president of the March of Dimes. "The Foundation calls upon all states to adopt the national standard of screening for at least 30 treatable conditions at birth. This is the only way we can address the health needs of a mobile nation: consistency across state lines is beneficial to families and health professionals who treat these children."

All 50 states and the District of Columbia now require that every baby be screened for 26 or more of the now 30 serious genetic or functional disorders on the uniform panel. The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, which was enacted in 2008, provided the framework for national screening guidelines. The March of Dimes worked with Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) on congressional approval and with Secretary Sebelius and others in the Administration on implementation of the law.

A list of which screening tests required by each state can be found on the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com/peristats, which is updated regularly, or at the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center Web site at genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies(Ū), the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

SOURCE March of Dimes


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