Children with an inherited condition known as phenylketonuria, or PKU, if untreated have profound developmental delay with an average IQ of less than 20. This means that such untreated children, who have a normal lifespan, are unable to speak or care for even simple needs, and require full-time care. They are robbed of many of life's opportunities. Over 50 years ago, it was shown that babies with PKU identified at birth and treated with a very special diet could grow into adults with normal abilities. Dr.
The use of the Guthrie test, or the PKU test, fairly quickly spread throughout
Since the benefit of the early diagnosis and treatment of PKU was so very dramatic, individual states, which are responsible for newborn screening, began to add tests for other conditions, using the same blood sample, to their newborn screening programs. Such conditions as congenital hypothyroidism were among the more common additions since early diagnosis and treatment of this condition also can prevent substantial developmental delay. But since each state has its own advisory panels, there developed considerable variation among the states. This variation was not only in the specific conditions being tested, but also the numbers of conditions included in the screening panel. In other words, whether your child would be identified to have a serious medical condition and receive the necessary life-saving medical intervention simply depended on the state in which your baby was born. This became a big problem for at-risk families who moved to another state between pregnancies. It was a lottery that the public health system never intended and consistency between the states needed be established.
Early efforts at harmonization of screening panels between states began when the
Most Popular Stories
- Slow Week Ahead of December FOMC Meeting
- Hispanics Seek to Grow School Board Members
- GM Bailout Saved 1.2 Million U.S. Jobs, Report Says
- Bitcoin Used to Buy Tesla Car
- U.S. Companies Eager for Iranian Business
- 'Knockout Game': Myth or Menace?
- Banks Fret as Volcker Vote Approaches
- Questions Remain in Jenni Rivera's Death
- Yellen Set to Become One of World's Most Powerful Women
- Paul Walker Fans Pay Respects