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Alabama Begins Mandatory Screening of Newborns for Cystic Fibrosis
Date:5/13/2008

State Joins 40 Others in Screening for Life-Threatening, Genetic Disease

WASHINGTON, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alabama has joined 39 other states and the District of Columbia in requiring that all newborns be screened for cystic fibrosis at birth.

"We congratulate Alabama for initiating a newborn screening program for cystic fibrosis," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "More than 40 states are now screening for the disease. With every added state, more people with cystic fibrosis will have a better chance at a healthier and longer life."

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is important because more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of a cystic fibrosis gene. Additionally, most people who have a child with CF are not aware of a family history of the disease. Cystic fibrosis causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and other organs, resulting in life-threatening infections and serious digestive complications.

Research studies show that newborn screening for CF will likely improve and extend the lives of those born with the disease. Early diagnosis allows affected infants to begin therapeutic interventions immediately. In research studies, these interventions have been shown to improve height, weight, nutrition, cognitive and lung functioning, and to reduce hospitalizations.

When the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was created in 1955, few children lived to attend elementary school. Today, as a result of dramatic improvements in research and care, the median age of survival for a person with CF is 37 years. The Foundation strongly urges all states to implement comprehensive programs for routine newborn screening for cystic fibrosis.

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization in the United States devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation has more than 80 chapters and branch offices throughout the country and supports and accredits a nationwide network of more than 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. For more information, visit http://www.cff.org.


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SOURCE Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
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