Newborn Screening - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/11/07

Newborn Screening

Good news Wednesday from the March of Dimes. Parents may cringe to think their newborn gets a heel prick, but the few drops of blood that come from that allow doctors to find 29 metabolic disorders long before any symptoms show up in these tiny babies.

A new March of Dimes report shows more than 87 percent of U.S. babies are now getting that heel prick because they are born in states that require screening. That's more than double what it was just two years ago allowing for an early diagnosis and treatment that can make life much easier for that child who is born with a problem. 

"We don't actually prevent the disease from occurring, but we prevent the child from suffering life-long complications from the disease,"said Dr. Kim Guiliano, of Pediatric Care in the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Guiliano says they may not be able to change the diagnosis but what they learn from that heel prick can lead to treatment that can prevent brain damage or even death.

Thirteen states and Washington D.C. require screening for all 29 disorders. Additional states have similar legislation pending.

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