That brings the total up to 61.
Baltimore, Md (KM) The Maryland Department of Health is now requiring newborn babies to be screened for four additional conditions after they come into the world. They are pompe disease, Fabry disease and Mucopolysaccharidos which is also known as MPS 1. “When you have a condition, the body’s inability to break down certain substances. And these substances build up in the body, build up the cells, and can often build up in different organs and tissues, and cause a whole range or problems,” says Dr. Jeb L. Miller, MD, Director of the Office of Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs for the Maryland Department of Health.
There’s also Spinal Muscular Atrophy. “There’s a loss of certain nerve cells, motor neurons, in the spinal cord and the brain cell. And that in turn causes problems with muscles, in particular weakening and wasting,” says Dr. Miller.
The addition of these four conditions that newborns must be screened for brings the number up to 61. Dr. Miller says the screenings help bring these problems to light. “If the screening takes place, we will be able to identify babies that have these conditions earlier then they would be otherwise identified, and importantly, be able to connect them to treatment, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes, helping them have better lives,”: he says.
The process for screening involves taking a small blood sample from the baby’s heel, which is sent off to the Maryland State Lab for analysis.
Health Department Secretary Robert Neall says screening for these new conditions further ensures “that babies born in Maryland are as healthy as possible.” “This is the fastest way to alert parents and providers to the presence of these conditions. I encourage all new parents to learn about and take advantage of newborn screening,” says Secretary Neall, in a statement.
Dr. Miller says these conditions were added after a council took an in-depth look at them. “They advised the Secretary of Health as to what conditions they recommend adding to the panel. And the Secretary of Health then makes a decision whether or not to accept the recommendation,” he says.
Additional information on Maryland’s newborn screening program can be found on the Department’s website at https://health.maryland.gov/laboratories/Pages/Parents.aspx.
By Kevin McManus