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Newborn Screening for Families

  • By: Judith M. Tuerck
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Newborn screening (NBS) is a critical public health activity in most industrialized and many developing countries around the world. It is an example of successful population screening in that virtually all newborns are screened. NBS involves the collection of a few drops of blood from the newborn a few days after birth that is sent to a designated screening laboratory. There it is tested for a panel (a series of tests) of biochemical disorders, ranging from 3 to over 50, that can cause serious physical and/or mental damage or even death if not detected and treated before symptoms develop. Screening tests are not diagnostic, and infants with abnormal results must be followed up with diagnostic tests and families counseled. Early diagnosis and successful treatment of ...

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