BETHESDA, MD JULY 12, 2007In support of the latest March of Dimes Newborn Screening Report Card, the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) strongly urges every state to require complete testing of all newborns for a core panel of genetic and congenital conditions. It is estimated that currently more than 500,000 babies annually are still not screened for the full panel of debilitating or life-threatening disorders. In many of these diseases, serious complications such as death or mental retardation are avoidable only through newborn screening, with appropriate follow-up and treatment.
The Executive Summary of Newborn Screening: Toward a Uniform Screening Panel and System is available to download at: http://www.acmg.net/resources/policies/NBS/NBS-sections.htm and the Newborn Screening ACT sheets are available at http://www.acmg.net/resources/policies/ACT/condition-analyte-links.htm. The March of Dimes also offers information about the recommended newborn screening tests at www.marchofdimes.com/nbs.
More thorough newborn screening programs will save lives and reduce disabilities. Advances in technology have made it possible and feasible to test newborns for a number of serious or deadly diseases, which can then be treated. 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. At ACMG, we will continue to monitor new advancements in testing and screening and translating these genetic discoveries into recommendations to improve public health and save lives, said Michael S. Watson, PhD, ACMG executive director.