This week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act. The bill supports continued funding and expansion for programs that identify, diagnose, and treat debilitating and potentially life-threatening illnesses as early as possible.
Here in the U.S., it's easy to imagine that screening newborns is a given. If you can, why wouldn't you? Even our normally contentious Congress supports it! What's more, screening works.
According to the March of Dimes, practically all babies born in the U.S. get screened shortly after birth -- that's more than 4 million babies every year. Of those births, "[a]bout one in every 300 newborns has a condition that can be detected through screening, and each year, more than 12,000 babies are diagnosed with a condition detectable by [early] screening."
This kind of success doesn't have to be an American phenomenon. Medical and public health agencies around the world recognize the positive impact that newborn screening can have on their citizens' health and they are ramping up their programs. This week, 5AM Solutions' Chief Science Officer, Will FitzHugh was a speaker at a workshop in Fes, Morocco where he talked about Electronic Systems for Research and Followup. In case you missed it, Will posted some thoughts about newborn screening in advance of his trip last week, and you can expect to read more about it when he returns.
You can read another post about newborn screening here and read a case study about 5AM's work with the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the Newborn Screening Translational Research Network here.