BETHESDA, Md., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last weeks its "Ten Great Public Health Achievements – United States, 2001-2010." The major public health achievements of the first 10 years of the 21st century included Newborn Screening in its widely announced list.
The CDC's report said, "Improvements in technology and endorsement of a uniform newborn screening panel of diseases have led to earlier life-saving treatment and intervention for at least 3,400 additional newborns each year with selected genetic and endocrine disorders." (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC, May 20, 2011)
The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) applauds the CDC's inclusion of Newborn Screening in this important list. ACMG, working under a Health Resources and Services (HRSA) Contract, developed the very important recommendations for the Uniform Newborn Screening Panel.
"Newborn screening is a vital public health program and it's been called one of the most significant, lifesaving and important public health programs in the United States of the past 50 years. Newborn screening saves lives every day. Period. Through early screening, diagnosis and treatment we can now prevent the truly dire consequences of a number of treatable conditions. With the current expansion of newborn screening panels nationwide, the American College of Medical Genetics estimates that about 12,000 of the 4.2 million babies born each year in the United States will be identified with one of the conditions for which early intervention will have a significant impact on the child's life and long-term health," said Michael S. Watson, Ph.D., FACMG, Executive Director, American College of Medical Genetics.
"Advances in newborn screening technology have indeed made it feasible and cost-saving to test newborns for a number of extremely serious, disabling or deadly conditions with a simple gathering of a drop or two of blood from the newborn's heel and to begin important treatment early," added R. Rodney Howell, M.D., FACMG, President of the ACMG Foundation.
The ACMG Recommendations were evaluated and recommended by the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Hereditable Disorders in Newborns and Children (SACHDNC), which is charged to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services. With support for pilot studies from the NIH and other federal and private agencies, these recommendations have been adopted almost universally by the public health units in the individual states, saving countless lives.
About the American College of Medical Genetics and ACMG Foundation
Founded in 1991, the American College of Medical Genetics (www.acmg.net) advances the practice of medical genetics by providing education, resources and a voice for more than 1,400 biochemical, clinical, cytogenetic, medical and molecular geneticists, genetic counselors and other healthcare 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 healthcare 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 (www.acmg.net) offers a variety of resources including Policy Statements, Practice Guidelines, Educational Resources, and a Find a Geneticist tool. 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 (www.acmgfoundation.org) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the College's diverse efforts to translate genes into health. The Foundation is dedicated to Better Health Through Genetics™.
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Michael S. Watson
SOURCE American College of Medical Genetics