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States expand newborn screening for life-threatening disorders
Date:2/17/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., FEB. 18, 2009 Regardless of where they are born in the United States, nearly all newborns now receive mandated screening for many life-threatening disorders, a remarkable public health advance of the last four years, according to a new report issued today by the March of Dimes.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia now require that every baby be screened for 21 or more of the 29 serious genetic or functional disorders on the uniform panel recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) and endorsed by the March of Dimes. If diagnosed early, these disorders can be successfully managed or treated to prevent death, disability, or other severe consequences such as mental retardation.

Although all states now have laws or rules that require the screening, as of December 31, 2008, Pennsylvania and West Virginia still must implement their expanded programs, according to the March of Dimes report card.

"Today we announce that expanded screening is required by the states for nearly 100 percent of the more than 4 million babies born each year in the U.S. The clear beneficiaries are babies and their families," said Jennifer L. Howse, PhD, president of the March of Dimes. "With the help of volunteers, parents and our partners, we have nearly erased the cruel injustice that sentenced babies to an undetected but treatable metabolic or functional condition based on their birth state. This is a success story."

"This is a sweeping advance for public health," said R. Rodney Howell, MD, chairman of the federal Health & Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, (ACHDNC). "The March of Dimes and its chapters nationwide can be proud of their leadership role to essentially eliminate the geographic gaps in the state newborn screening safety net. Now, whether babies are screened and can get the immediate treatment they need to lead a healthy life no lon
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Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
elynch@marchofdimes.com
914-997-4286
March of Dimes Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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