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Int. J. Neonatal Screen., Volume 7, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 20 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Often, intelligent and important developments originate from a confluence of two or more different disciplines. Thus, newborn screening was born. Robert Guthrie began his professional life as a microbiologist and later became a physician. As a physician, he learned, almost by accident, that a test needed to aid in the treatment of a metabolic disease is called phenylketonuria (PKU). As a microbiologist, he realized that he might be able to develop such a test. The result was newborn screening! (Learn more about the story of Dr. Robert Guthrie here: www.robertguthriepku.org, Photo: Courtesy, University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo). View this paper
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Article
A Voluntary Statewide Newborn Screening Pilot for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Results from Early Check
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010020 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1121
Abstract
Prior to statewide newborn screening (NBS) for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in North Carolina, U.S.A., we offered voluntary screening through the Early Check (EC) research study. Here, we describe the EC experience from October 2018 through December 2020. We enrolled a total of [...] Read more.
Prior to statewide newborn screening (NBS) for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in North Carolina, U.S.A., we offered voluntary screening through the Early Check (EC) research study. Here, we describe the EC experience from October 2018 through December 2020. We enrolled a total of 12,065 newborns and identified one newborn with 0 copies of SMN1 and two copies of SMN2, consistent with severe early onset of SMA. We also detected one false positive result, likely stemming from an unrelated blood disorder associated with a low white blood cell count. We evaluated the timing of NBS for babies enrolled prenatally (n = 932) and postnatally (n = 11,133) and reasons for delays in screening and reporting. Although prenatal enrollment led to faster return of results (median = 13 days after birth), results for babies enrolled postnatally were still available within a timeframe (median = 21 days after birth) that allowed the opportunity to receive essential treatment early in life. We evaluated an SMA q-PCR screening method at two separate time points, confirming the robustness of the assay. The pilot project provided important information about SMA screening in anticipation of forthcoming statewide expansion as part of regular NBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy)
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Review
The First Treatment for PKU: The Pioneers—Birmingham 1951
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010019 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
Prior to the introduction of newborn screening, Phenylketonuria (PKU) was a devastating disorder with affected individuals usually committed to a life in care in large institutions (asylums). Newborn screening only began after it was shown that those with PKU could be treated with [...] Read more.
Prior to the introduction of newborn screening, Phenylketonuria (PKU) was a devastating disorder with affected individuals usually committed to a life in care in large institutions (asylums). Newborn screening only began after it was shown that those with PKU could be treated with a modified diet and could subsequently lead normal lives. The first production of a diet and the demonstration of its effectiveness was thus a key milestone in the history of both PKU and newborn screening, and took place in Birmingham, UK, in 1951. The pioneers were a two-year-old girl called Sheila Jones, her mother Mary, and three dedicated professionals at Birmingham Children’s Hospital: Evelyn Hickmans, John Gerrard and Horst Bickel. Together, they changed the course of PKU for those across the world. This review summarises the history and achievements of this team who opened the door to PKU treatment and the introduction of newborn screening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History, Present and Future of Neonatal Screening)
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Article
Neonatal Urine Screening Program in the Province of Quebec: Technological Upgrade from Thin Layer Chromatography to Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010018 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 783
Abstract
The Quebec Neonatal Urine Screening Program was initiated in 1971 with overall screening inception of newborns in 1973. Forty-seven years later, over 3.5 million babies have been screened for up to 25 inborn errors of metabolism divided into two groups: (1) urea cycle [...] Read more.
The Quebec Neonatal Urine Screening Program was initiated in 1971 with overall screening inception of newborns in 1973. Forty-seven years later, over 3.5 million babies have been screened for up to 25 inborn errors of metabolism divided into two groups: (1) urea cycle disorders and organic acidurias; and (2) disorders of amino acid metabolism and transport. The main goal of this preventive genetic medicine program is the detection of treatable diseases before the onset of clinical symptoms. Urine specimens from 21-day-old babies are collected and dried on filter paper by parents at home. The participation is voluntary with a high compliance rate over the years (~90%). Specimens are analyzed by thin layer chromatography (TLC). The main objective of this evaluative research project was to assess the feasibility of a technological upgrade towards mass spectrometry. A 2.85-min flow injection method was devised, normal values established, and abnormal profiles confirmed using second-tier tests. The validated assays are sensitive, specific, and suitable for populational screening, as well as for high-risk screening laboratories. Triple H syndrome, which would not be detected in newborns by blood screening at two days of age was found to be positive in the urine of an affected patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tandem Mass Spectrometry in Newborn Screening)
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Article
Clinical and Genetic Characteristics of Patients with Mild Hyperphenylalaninemia Identified by Newborn Screening Program in Japan
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010017 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 706
Abstract
Phenylketonuria (PKU) and hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA), both identified in newborn screening, are attributable to variants in PAH. Reportedly, the p.R53H(c.158G>A) variant is common in patients with HPA in East Asia. Here, we aimed to define the association between p.R53H and HPA phenotype, and [...] Read more.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) and hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA), both identified in newborn screening, are attributable to variants in PAH. Reportedly, the p.R53H(c.158G>A) variant is common in patients with HPA in East Asia. Here, we aimed to define the association between p.R53H and HPA phenotype, and study the long-term outcome of patients with HPA carrying p.R53H. We retrospectively reviewed the genotype in 370 patients detected by newborn screening, and identified the phenotype in 280 (117, HPA; 163, PKU). p.R413P(c.1238G>C) was the most frequently found (n = 117, 31.6%) variant, followed by p.R53H (n = 89, 24.1%). The odds ratio for heterozygous p.R53H to cause HPA was 48.3 (95% CI 19.410–120.004). Furthermore, we assessed the non-linear association between the phenylalanine (Phe) value and elapsed time using the follow-up data of the blood Phe levels of 73 patients with HPA carrying p.R53H. The predicted levels peaked at 161.9 μmol (95% CI 152.088–172.343) at 50–60 months of age and did not exceed 360 μmol/L during the 210-month long observation period. The findings suggest that patients with HPA, carrying p.R53H, do not need frequent Phe monitoring as against those with PKU. Our study provides convincing evidence to determine clinical management of patients detected through newborn screening in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Newborn Screening in Japan)
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Editorial
IJNS Turns Seven—High Impact for Neonatal Screening
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010016 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 543
Abstract
Since our inaugural issue in 2015, the International Journal of Neonatal Screening (IJNS) has solidified its position as the preferred platform to publish the scientific output of the members of the International Society of Neonatal screening (ISNS) and professionals in fields [...] Read more.
Since our inaugural issue in 2015, the International Journal of Neonatal Screening (IJNS) has solidified its position as the preferred platform to publish the scientific output of the members of the International Society of Neonatal screening (ISNS) and professionals in fields related to neonatal screening [...] Full article
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Article
Neonatal Screening in Europe Revisited: An ISNS Perspective on the Current State and Developments Since 2010
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010015 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Neonatal screening (NBS) was initiated in Europe during the 1960s with the screening for phenylketonuria. The panel of screened disorders (“conditions”) then gradually expanded, with a boost in the late 1990s with the introduction of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), making it possible to [...] Read more.
Neonatal screening (NBS) was initiated in Europe during the 1960s with the screening for phenylketonuria. The panel of screened disorders (“conditions”) then gradually expanded, with a boost in the late 1990s with the introduction of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), making it possible to screen for 40–50 conditions using a single blood spot. The most recent additions to screening programmes (screening for cystic fibrosis, severe combined immunodeficiency and spinal muscular atrophy) were assisted by or realised through the introduction of molecular technologies. For this survey, we collected data from 51 European countries. We report the developments between 2010 and 2020 and highlight the achievements reached with the progress made in this period. We also identify areas where further progress can be made, mainly by exchanging knowledge and learning from experiences in neighbouring countries. Between 2010 and 2020, most NBS programmes in geographical Europe matured considerably, both in terms of methodology (modernised) and with regard to the panel of conditions screened (expanded). These developments indicate that more collaboration in Europe through European organisations is gaining momentum. We can only accomplish the timely detection of newborn infants potentially suffering from one of the many rare diseases and take appropriate action by working together. Full article
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Editorial
The Editor’s Choice for Issue 4, Volume 6
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010014 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 599
Abstract
The Editorial team (Ralph Fingerhut, Can Ficiccioglu, Dianne Webster, David Millington and I) is trying something new [...] Full article
Article
Informing Parents about Newborn Screening: A European Comparison Study
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010013 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Knowledge about newborn screening (NBS) is an important factor for parents to make an informed decision about participation. In Europe, countries inform parents differently about their NBS program, potentially including different knowledge aspects in their information. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Knowledge about newborn screening (NBS) is an important factor for parents to make an informed decision about participation. In Europe, countries inform parents differently about their NBS program, potentially including different knowledge aspects in their information. The aim of this study was to assess twenty-six European parental information products and to analyze their knowledge aspects through a content analysis. The analyzed aspects were compared to a list of eight knowledge aspects from scientific literature. The list includes aspects important for parents’ decision-making, such as the purpose of screening. The study showed that most of the eight knowledge aspects are included in NBS information products of the majority of countries. However, there were differences between countries, for example in the amount of detail and phrasing of the information. Additional relevant knowledge aspects have also been identified and are recommended to optimize information products, such as the handling of residual bloodspot samples. This study only assessed knowledge aspects in information products meant for printing, but many countries also use other communication methods, and the impact on knowledge of the delivery of the information needs further study. Preferences of parents on alternative communication methods need to be considered and evaluated on their effectiveness. Full article
Article
Perspectives on Building Sustainable Newborn Screening Programs for Sickle Cell Disease: Experience from Tanzania
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010012 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 715
Abstract
The prevalence of sickle cell disease is high in Africa, with significant public health effects on the affected countries. Many of the countries with the highest prevalence of the disease also have poor health care systems and a high burden of infectious diseases [...] Read more.
The prevalence of sickle cell disease is high in Africa, with significant public health effects on the affected countries. Many of the countries with the highest prevalence of the disease also have poor health care systems and a high burden of infectious diseases with many other competing health care priorities. Although considerable efforts have been made to implement newborn screening for sickle cell disease programs in Africa, coverage is still low. Tanzania has one of the highest birth prevalence of children with sickle cell disease in Africa. In 2015, the country implemented a pilot project for Newborn Screening for Sickle Cell Disease to assess feasibility. Several efforts have been made afterwards to continue providing the screening services as well as related comprehensive care services. Using qualitative methods, we conducted in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with policy makers (n = 4), health care providers (n = 21) and families (n = 15) to provide an analysis of their experiences and perspectives on efforts to expand and sustain newborn screening for sickle cell disease and related comprehensive care services in the country. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data through the framework analysis method. The findings have demonstrated both the opportunities and areas that need addressing in the implementation and sustainability of the services in low resource settings. A key area of strengthening is full integration of the services in countries’ health care systems to facilitate the coverage, accessibility and affordability of the services. Although the coverage of newborn screening services for sickle cell disease is still low, efforts at the local level to sustain the implementation of the programs and related comprehensive care services are encouraging and can be used as a model for other programs implemented in low resources settings. Full article
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Editorial
Newborn Screening for CAH—Challenges and Opportunities
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010011 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Newborn screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) using 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) as an indicator of disease was first introduced in the 1970s [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CAH Screening—Challenges and Opportunities)
Article
Guideline Adherence and Registry Recruitment of Congenital Primary Hypothyroidism: Data from the German Registry for Congenital Hypothyroidism (HypoDok)
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010010 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
Neonatal screening for congenital primary hypothyroidism (CH) is mandatory in Germany but medical care thereafter remains inconsistent. Therefore, the registry HypoDok of the German Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (DGKED) was analyzed to evaluate the implementation of evidence-based guidelines and to assess [...] Read more.
Neonatal screening for congenital primary hypothyroidism (CH) is mandatory in Germany but medical care thereafter remains inconsistent. Therefore, the registry HypoDok of the German Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (DGKED) was analyzed to evaluate the implementation of evidence-based guidelines and to assess the number of included patients. Inclusion criteria were (i) date of birth between 10/2001 and 05/2020 and (ii) increased thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) at screening and/or confirmation. The cohort was divided into before (A) and after (B) guideline publication in 02/2011, to assess the guideline’s influence on medical care. A total of 659 patients were analyzed as group A (n = 327) and group B (n = 332) representing 17.5% and 10.3% of CH patients identified in the German and Austrian neonatal screening program during the respective time period. Treatment start and thyroxine doses were similar in both groups and consistent with recommendations. Regular follow-ups were documented. In the first three years of life, less than half of the patients underwent audiometry; developmental assessment was performed in 49.3% (A) and 24.8% (B) (p < 0.01). Documentation of CH patient care by pediatric endocrinologists seemed to be established, however, it reflected only a minority of the affected patients. Therefore, comprehensive documentation as an important instrument of quality assurance and evidence-based medicine should be legally enforced and officially funded in order to record, comprehend, and optimize care and outcome in patients with rare diseases such as CH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening Follow-Up and Education)
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Case Report
Compound Heterozygosity for a Novel Frameshift Variant Causing Fatal Infantile Liver Failure and Genotype–Phenotype Correlation of POLG c.3286C>T Variant
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010009 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 763
Abstract
A variant in the POLG gene is the leading cause of a heterogeneous group of mitochondrial disorders. No definitive treatment is currently available. Prenatal and newborn screening have the potential to improve clinical outcome of patients affected with POLG-related disorders. We reported [...] Read more.
A variant in the POLG gene is the leading cause of a heterogeneous group of mitochondrial disorders. No definitive treatment is currently available. Prenatal and newborn screening have the potential to improve clinical outcome of patients affected with POLG-related disorders. We reported a 4-month-old infant who presented with developmental delay, fever, and diarrhea. Within two weeks after hospital admission, the patient developed hepatic failure and died. Liver necropsy demonstrated an extensive loss of hepatocytes and bile duct proliferations. Trio-whole exome sequencing identified that the patient was compound heterozygous for a novel frameshift variant c.3102delG (p.Lys1035Serfs*59) and a common variant c.3286C>T (p.Arg1096Cys) in POLG (NM_002693.3) inherited from the mother and father, respectively. The c.3102delG (p.Lys1035Serfs*59) was a null variant and classified as pathogenic according to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics Standards and Guidelines. Prenatal genetic screenings using rapid whole exome sequencing successfully detected the heterozygous c.3286C>T variant in the following pregnancy and the normal alleles in the other one. Both children had been healthy. We reviewed all 34 cases identified with the POLG c.3286C>T variant and found that all 15 compound heterozygous cases had two missense variants except our patient who had the truncating variant and showed the earliest disease onset, rapid deterioration, and the youngest death. All homozygous cases had disease onset before age 2 and developed seizure. Here, we report a novel POLG variant expanding the genotypic spectrum, demonstrate the successful use of exome sequencing for prenatal and neonatal screenings of POLG-related disorders, and show the genotype–phenotype correlation of the common c.3286C>T variant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in Newborn Screening)
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Article
The Impact of Seasonal Changes on Thyroxine and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in Newborns
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010008 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
Newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is performed by measuring the concentration of thyroxine (T4) and/or thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in dried blood spots. Unfortunately, the levels of T4 and TSH vary due to multiple factors, and therefore the false-positive rate for the test [...] Read more.
Newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is performed by measuring the concentration of thyroxine (T4) and/or thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in dried blood spots. Unfortunately, the levels of T4 and TSH vary due to multiple factors, and therefore the false-positive rate for the test is a challenge. We analyzed screening data from 2008 to 2017 to determine the effect of seasonal changes and manufacturer kit lot changes on T4 and TSH values and on numbers of infants referred. Over a 10-year period, we screened 2.4 million infants using commercially available fluoroimmunoassays to measure T4 and TSH concentrations in dried blood spots. During colder months, daily mean T4 and TSH values were higher and referral rates and false-positive rates were higher. However, there was no significant difference between the number of confirmed CH cases. Furthermore, in rare instances, we observed differences in T4 daily mean values during the 10-year period when manufacturer kit lot changes were made. Seasonal temperature variations influence measured T4 and TSH values and consequently lower the positive predictive value for CH testing in colder months. Newborn screening (NBS) programs should be aware that manufacturer kit lot changes may also influence T4 values. Full article
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Commentary
Introduction of Universal Newborn Screening for Sickle Cell Disease in Germany—A Brief Narrative Review
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 7; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010007 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 718
Abstract
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a severe non-malignant disorder of hemoglobin and is inherited in an autosomal-recessive manner [...] Full article
Commentary
Expanded Newborn Screening and Genomic Sequencing in Latin America and the Resulting Social Justice and Ethical Considerations
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010006 - 21 Jan 2021
Viewed by 626
Abstract
Newborn screening (NBS) has widely been utilized in developed countries as a cost-effective public health strategy that reduces morbidity and mortality. Developing countries, however, are new to the NBS scene and have their own unique challenges, both in instituting the program as well [...] Read more.
Newborn screening (NBS) has widely been utilized in developed countries as a cost-effective public health strategy that reduces morbidity and mortality. Developing countries, however, are new to the NBS scene and have their own unique challenges, both in instituting the program as well as effectively acting on the results. NBS offers numerous ethical issues on a global scale, however, here we argue that there are unique ethical issues surrounding the development and expansion of newborn screening in Latin America given its highly heterogenous population. Once a NBS program is effectively instated, ethical considerations continue when pursuing expansion of screening to include further conditions. While Latin America grapples with the ethics of expanded newborn screening (ENBS), some developed countries discuss utility of genomic sequencing technologies in the newborn population. When the ability to detect further pathology is expanded, one must know what to do with this information. As rare diseases are identified either on ENBS or via genome sequencing, access to treatments for these rare diseases can be a real challenge. If we consider newborn screening as a global initiative, then we need more than a deontology approach to analyze these challenges; we need an approach that considers the unique characteristics of each territory and tremendous heterogeneity that exists prior to the implementation of these programs. As genomic technology advances further in the developed world, while some developing countries still lack even basic newborn screening, there is a further widening of the gap in global health disparities. The question is posed as to who has responsibility for these newborns’ lives on an international level. Without an approach towards newborn screening that accounts for the diverse global population, we believe optimal outcomes for newborns and families across the world will not be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Psychosocial Aspects of Genomics in the Neonatal Period)
Review
Robert Guthrie and the Trials and Tribulations of Newborn Screening
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 5; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010005 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1026
Abstract
Routine newborn screening for many disorders is now so ingrained in newborn care that there is no question about whether it should be done. However, acceptance of newborn screening was not guaranteed when Robert Guthrie introduced it for phenylketonuria (PKU). This article describes [...] Read more.
Routine newborn screening for many disorders is now so ingrained in newborn care that there is no question about whether it should be done. However, acceptance of newborn screening was not guaranteed when Robert Guthrie introduced it for phenylketonuria (PKU). This article describes the professional and personal story of Guthrie, a physician and microbiologist, who veered from cancer research to a commitment to prevent intellectual disability from PKU. It recounts how Guthrie was able to overcome strong opposition to mandatory screening from prominent physicians and medical societies, so that newborn screening for PKU would be routinely performed throughout the developed world, and would eventually form the basis for the (much more) comprehensive screening conducted today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History, Present and Future of Neonatal Screening)
Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of International Journal of Neonatal Screening in 2020
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010004 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 497
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that International Journal of Neonatal Screening maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Commentary
Ethical Issues Surrounding Newborn Screening
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010003 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 948
Abstract
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of persistent, thoughtful parents and their importance in the development of treatments for their children’s rare disorders. Almost a century ago in Norway, observant parents led a brilliant young physician-scientist to his discovery of the [...] Read more.
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of persistent, thoughtful parents and their importance in the development of treatments for their children’s rare disorders. Almost a century ago in Norway, observant parents led a brilliant young physician-scientist to his discovery of the underlying cause of their children’s profound developmental delay—i.e., phenylketonuria, or PKU. Decades later, in a recovering war-ravaged Britain, an equally persistent mother pressed the scientists at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to find a way to treat her seriously damaged daughter, Sheila, who suffered from PKU. Living on the financial edge, this mother insisted that Bickel and colleagues develop such a diet, and she volunteered Sheila to be the patient in the trial. The scientists concluded that the low phenylalanine diet helped but needed to be started very early—so, newborn screening was born to permit the implementation of this. Many steps brought us to where we are today, but these courageous parents made it all begin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Psychosocial Aspects of Genomics in the Neonatal Period)
Commentary
Ethical and Psychosocial Implications of Genomic Newborn Screening
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010002 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 983
Abstract
The potential for genomic screening of the newborn, specifically adding genomic screening to current newborn screening (NBS), raises very significant ethical issues. Regardless of whether NBS of this type would include entire genomes or only the coding region of the genome (exome screening) [...] Read more.
The potential for genomic screening of the newborn, specifically adding genomic screening to current newborn screening (NBS), raises very significant ethical issues. Regardless of whether NBS of this type would include entire genomes or only the coding region of the genome (exome screening) or even sequencing specific genes, the ethical issues raised would be enormous. These issues include the limitations of bioinformatic interpretation of identified variants in terms of pathogenicity and accurate prognosis, the potential for substantial uncertainty about appropriate diagnosis, therapy, and follow-up, the possibility of much anxiety among providers and parents, the potential for unnecessary treatment and “medicalizing” normal children, the possibility of adding large medical costs for otherwise unnecessary follow-up and testing, the potential for negatively impacting medical and life insurance, and the almost impossible task of obtaining truly-informed consent. Moreover, the potentially-negative consequences of adding genomic sequencing to NBS might jeopardize all of NBS which has been and continues to be so beneficial for thousands of children and their families throughout the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Psychosocial Aspects of Genomics in the Neonatal Period)
Article
Newborn Screening for Cystic Fibrosis: Infant and Laboratory Factors Affecting Successful Sweat Test Completion
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7010001 - 25 Dec 2020
Viewed by 774
Abstract
Newborn screening (NBS) for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has revolutionized the diagnosis of this inherited disease. CF NBS goals are to identify, diagnose, and initiate early CF treatment to attain better health outcomes. Abnormal CF NBS infants require diagnostic analysis via sweat chloride testing [...] Read more.
Newborn screening (NBS) for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has revolutionized the diagnosis of this inherited disease. CF NBS goals are to identify, diagnose, and initiate early CF treatment to attain better health outcomes. Abnormal CF NBS infants require diagnostic analysis via sweat chloride testing (ST). During ST, insufficient sweat volume collection causes a “quantity not sufficient” (QNS) test result and may delay CF diagnosis. The CF Foundation recommends QNS rates <10% for infants <3 months, but many CF Centers experience difficulties meeting this standard. Our quality improvement (QI) study assessed infant and laboratory factors contributing to ST success and QNS rates from 2017–2019. Infants’ day of life (DOL) at successful ST completion was analyzed according to infant factors (birth weight (BW), gestational age, ethnicity, and sex). Laboratory factors and procedures affecting ST outcomes were also reviewed. At our institution, BW and gestational age were the infant factors found to significantly affect DOL at ST completion. ST education, reduced number of laboratory technicians, and direct observation during ST completion also improved ST success rates. This study supports QI measures and partnerships between CF centers and laboratory staff to identify and improve ST QNS rates while sustaining practices to ensure timely CF diagnostic testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening Follow-Up and Education)
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