92 Percent of States Do Not Screen Newborns for Certain Disorders; March of Dimes Calls on States to Adopt Eight Core Bloodspot Tests

Mar 06, 2001, 00:00 ET from March of Dimes

    WASHINGTON, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The vast majority of U.S. states last
 year -- 47 in all -- did not conduct the panel of newborn screening bloodspot
 tests recommended by the March of Dimes, according to state data published
 today by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. The tests screen the
 blood of newborns for certain conditions that may threaten their lives and
 long-term health, including certain genetic disorders.
     Only three states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island --
 require the eight recommended bloodspot tests for all newborns.  Seventeen
 states, including California and New Jersey, perform half or less of the eight
 heel-stick bloodspot tests for diseases and conditions like Congenital Adrenal
 Hyperplasia (CAH) and Sickle Cell Disease.  CAH, a set of inherited disorders
 resulting from defects in the synthesis of hormones produced by the adrenal
 gland, strikes one in every 5000 infants.  Sickle Cell Disease afflicts one in
 every 400 newborns, mainly African-Americans.
     "An infant's health should not be determined by their zip code," says
 Donald Mattison, MD, medical director for the March of Dimes.  "Every child
 born in this country should receive the same core group of bloodspot screening
 tests to prevent the devastating consequences of these conditions."
     Only two screening tests, phenylketonuria (PKU) and Congenital
 Hypothyroidism, are conducted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and
 Puerto Rico.
     The state data was published today in the new March of Dimes Data Book for
 Policy Makers: Maternal, Infant, and Child Health in the United States 2001.
 The data was collected by the National Newborn Screening and Genetic Resource
 Center.
     Other highlights in the latest March of Dimes Data Book include statistics
 such as:
     -- Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, accounting for
        more than one in five infant deaths;
     -- The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than in 25 other nations,
        ranking just ahead of Cuba;
     -- Prematurity/low birthweight (14 percent) and sudden infant death
        syndrome (10 percent) are the second and third leading cause of infant
        deaths;
     -- More than three percent of pregnant women report "binge" alcohol use
        during pregnancy; 3.4 percent report using illicit drugs.
 
     About four million infants are born annually in the U.S., and the March of
 Dimes recommends that all of these newborns be screened for hearing loss and a
 core group of eight bloodspot tests: PKU, congenital hypothyroidism,
 galactosemia, maple syrup urine disease, homocystinuria, biotinidase, sickle
 cell disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
     Founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the March of Dimes
 is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health
 of infants and children by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
 
 

SOURCE March of Dimes
    WASHINGTON, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The vast majority of U.S. states last
 year -- 47 in all -- did not conduct the panel of newborn screening bloodspot
 tests recommended by the March of Dimes, according to state data published
 today by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. The tests screen the
 blood of newborns for certain conditions that may threaten their lives and
 long-term health, including certain genetic disorders.
     Only three states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island --
 require the eight recommended bloodspot tests for all newborns.  Seventeen
 states, including California and New Jersey, perform half or less of the eight
 heel-stick bloodspot tests for diseases and conditions like Congenital Adrenal
 Hyperplasia (CAH) and Sickle Cell Disease.  CAH, a set of inherited disorders
 resulting from defects in the synthesis of hormones produced by the adrenal
 gland, strikes one in every 5000 infants.  Sickle Cell Disease afflicts one in
 every 400 newborns, mainly African-Americans.
     "An infant's health should not be determined by their zip code," says
 Donald Mattison, MD, medical director for the March of Dimes.  "Every child
 born in this country should receive the same core group of bloodspot screening
 tests to prevent the devastating consequences of these conditions."
     Only two screening tests, phenylketonuria (PKU) and Congenital
 Hypothyroidism, are conducted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and
 Puerto Rico.
     The state data was published today in the new March of Dimes Data Book for
 Policy Makers: Maternal, Infant, and Child Health in the United States 2001.
 The data was collected by the National Newborn Screening and Genetic Resource
 Center.
     Other highlights in the latest March of Dimes Data Book include statistics
 such as:
     -- Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, accounting for
        more than one in five infant deaths;
     -- The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than in 25 other nations,
        ranking just ahead of Cuba;
     -- Prematurity/low birthweight (14 percent) and sudden infant death
        syndrome (10 percent) are the second and third leading cause of infant
        deaths;
     -- More than three percent of pregnant women report "binge" alcohol use
        during pregnancy; 3.4 percent report using illicit drugs.
 
     About four million infants are born annually in the U.S., and the March of
 Dimes recommends that all of these newborns be screened for hearing loss and a
 core group of eight bloodspot tests: PKU, congenital hypothyroidism,
 galactosemia, maple syrup urine disease, homocystinuria, biotinidase, sickle
 cell disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
     Founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the March of Dimes
 is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health
 of infants and children by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
 
 SOURCE  March of Dimes