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All Babies in Massachusetts Should Be Screened for Life-Threatening Disorders

tested hang in the balance," said March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. "Despite the pleas of parents, clinicians and advocacy groups, the United States still lacks consistent federal guidelines for newborn screening.

Babies must be screened to receive immediate treatment necessary to survive and lead healthy lives. The lack of federal guidelines makes it difficult for states to get support for needed legislation," she said.

In states that don't follow the ACMG recommendations, March of Dimes staff and volunteers continue to work with governors, legislatures, health departments, and parent groups to advocate for expanded newborn screening on a state-by-state basis. Contact the March of Dimes at 508-329-2800 and join efforts to continue to advocate for the well-being of babies in Massachusetts.

Nationwide, a discouraging 6.1 percent of babies are born in states that required screening for only 10 to 20 of the core conditions and 6.2 percent of newborns will get screening for fewer than 10 conditions.

"Disparities in state newborn screening programs mean some babies may die or develop brain damage or other severe complications because they are not identified in time for effective treatment," said Dr. Howse. "All babies across America should receive the benefits of being screened for all of these 29 core conditions," said Dr. Howse.

This is the fifth consecutive year the March of Dimes has analyzed state- by-state newborn screening requirements, creating a snapshot of the nation's progress toward improving the health of infants and children. The March of Dimes contracted with the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center to survey each state's newborn screening requirements.

The snapshot shows that the nation is on target to meet the March of Dimes goal of having all babies screened for 20 or more of the recommended panel of genetic disorders by 2008.


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