A Science Writer Explores The 'Perversions And Potential' Of Genetic Tests

Monday, June 18, 2018

International Journal of Neonatal Screening, by Marci Sontag et al. 

Abstract

Newborn screening (NBS) identifies infants with rare conditions to prevent death or the onset of irreversible morbidities. Conditions on the Health and Human Services Secretary's Recommended Uniform Screening Panel have been adopted by most state NBS programs, providing a consistent approach for identification of affected newborns across the United States. Screen-positive newborns are identified and referred for confirmatory diagnosis and follow-up. The designation of a clinically significant phenotype precursor to a clinical diagnosis may vary between clinical specialists, resulting in diagnostic variation. Determination of disease burden and birth prevalence of the screened conditions by public health tracking is made challenging by these variations. This report describes the development of a core group of new case definitions, along with implications, plans for their use, and links to the definitions that were developed by panels of clinical experts. These definitions have been developed through an iterative process and are piloted in NBS programs. Consensus public health surveillance case definitions for newborn screened disorders will allow for consistent categorization and tracking of short- and long-term follow-up of identified newborns at the local, regional, and national levels.

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