July 26, 2013 by Turn The Page
Newborn screening has been standard in the United States for 50 years. Newborn screening is the practice of testing all babies for a set of disorders and conditions before symptoms begin.
To test for these conditions, hospital staff draw blood from babies’ heels. The testing has proven to be valuable, allowing doctors to prevent damage and save lives. When a problem is detected early, doctors can initiate treatment that prevents life-threatening illnesses, physical and mental disabilities.
Initiatives are being made to alter the standard newborn testing procedures. Each state requires testing for a certain number of conditions, but advocates are pushing for a complete genetic profile for newborns.
Changes in Newborn Testing
These changes are being proposed by national institutes and groups. Changes in newborn testing could bring about some complex results.
If newborn testing were to include a complete genetic profile, parents could be notified of predispositions and potential problems.
Identify rare diseases
Genetic testing in newborns would allow for a broad range of testing results. Initiating these genomic technologies would allow health professionals to not only identify the presence of conditions, but also to predict disease risks, behaviors and drug tolerances. This type of testing looks to predict future health patterns.
Potential for false positives
As newborn testing starts analyzing more conditions, there is greater chance for false positives. Research shows that many of the positive results for diseases are false results. If parents are notified of a positive test result, they are left to worry about the second test result. This period of agony can even keep worried parents from bonding with their child in the meantime.
Parent and child relationship
One concern with genetic profiling of newborns is the way it will affect the parent and child relationship. Parents may be overwhelmed when they are presented with a wealth of information about their newborn. Parents who learn that a child might have a disease or disorder actually start behaving as if the child does have the condition. Parents may be anxious and be intent on protecting their child’s health.
DNA answers so many questions. We love to learn about the future of DNA testing and how genetic profiles will be used to advance our society.
The staff at ARCpoint Labs are ready to help you with any of your DNA testing needs.