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American College of Medical Genetics Commends the Signing of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act

BETHESDA, Md., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) applauds the signing into law of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act (S.1858) sponsored by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and 21 co-sponsors including ACMG's Maryland Senators, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD). The bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush on April 24, will expand screenings of newborn babies for congenital, genetic and metabolic disorders and will authorize a grant program to expand the funding to state and local health agencies to provide screening, counseling and health care services to newborns and children having or at risk for heritable disorders. It also provides for funds for education and training of health care professionals in new technologies related to newborn screening and to develop and deliver educational programs about newborn screening counseling to parents, families and advocacy groups.

"This legislation will undoubtedly save the lives of many children," says Michael S. Watson, PhD, FACMG, executive director of the ACMG, which recommends universal newborn screening for 29 treatable conditions. "Newborn screening is a vital public health program. Through early screening, diagnosis and treatment we can prevent the truly dire consequences of a number of treatable conditions. With the current expansion of newborn screening panels, it is estimated that about 10,000 of the 4.1 million babies born each year in the United States will be identified with one of the conditions for which treatment will have a significant impact on long-term outcome."

"This bill places resources where they are needed to make the difference for families across every state in the US. Advances in technology have made it possible and feasible to test newborns for a number of serious or deadly conditions. With advances in genetic medicine, it is now possible to diagnose, and even more importantly, to treat more diseases than ever in history," says Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, FACMG, FACOG, president of ACMG.

ACMG also commends the March of Dimes, Hunter's Hope Foundation and Save Babies Through Screening Foundation and the many other organizations who have worked tirelessly to save and improve the lives of children through effective newborn screening.

The legislation authorizes $44.5 million in fiscal 2008 to fund the bill's various programs, with the amount increasing each year through 2012.

About the American College of Medical Genetics

Founded in 1991, the American College of Medical Genetics ( advances the practice of medical genetics by providing education, resources and a voice for more than 1400 biochemical, clinical, cytogenetic, medical and molecular geneticists, genetic counselors and other health care professionals committed to the practice of medical genetics. ACMG's activities include the development of laboratory and practice standards and guidelines, advocating for quality genetic services in health care and in public health, and promoting the development of methods to diagnose, treat and prevent genetic disease. Genetics in Medicine, published monthly, is the official ACMG peer-reviewed journal. ACMG's website ( offers a variety of resources including Policy Statements, Practice Guidelines, Educational Resources, and a Medical Geneticist Locator. The educational and public health programs of the American College of Medical Genetics are dependent upon charitable gifts from corporations, foundations, and individuals. The American College of Medical Genetics Foundation is a 501 (3)(c) not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the College's diverse efforts.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Michael S. Watson, Ph.D.

SOURCE American College of Medical Genetics
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