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Int. J. Neonatal Screen., Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The Philippines is part of the Thalassemia Belt. The recent addition of hemoglobinopathy newborn screening, including thalassemias, to the existing newborn screening program has been a resounding success. The program is still growing and currently serves over 90% of the 2 million newborns born annually in more than 7400 hospitals and birthing centers across the archipelago. The cover photo shows a technologist in one of the 7 testing facilities reviewing results with a local hematologist (Photo courtesy of Carmencita Padilla). View this paper
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Article
Glutaric Aciduria Type I Missed by Newborn Screening: Report of Four Cases from Three Families
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020032 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Glutaric aciduria type I (GA-1) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder of the degradation of the amino acids lysine and tryptophan caused by mutations of the GCDH gene encoding glutaryl-CoA-dehydrogenase. Newborn screening (NBS) for this condition is based on elevated levels of glutarylcarnitine (C5DC) [...] Read more.
Glutaric aciduria type I (GA-1) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder of the degradation of the amino acids lysine and tryptophan caused by mutations of the GCDH gene encoding glutaryl-CoA-dehydrogenase. Newborn screening (NBS) for this condition is based on elevated levels of glutarylcarnitine (C5DC) in dried blood spots (DBS). Here we report four cases from three families in whom a correctly performed NBS did not detect the condition. Glutarylcarnitine concentrations were either normal (slightly below) or slightly above the cut-off. Ratios to other acylcarnitines were also not persistently elevated. Therefore, three cases were defined as screen negative, and one case was defined as normal, after a normal control DBS sample. One patient was diagnosed after an acute encephalopathic crisis, and the other three patients had an insidious onset of the disease. GA-1 was genetically confirmed in all cases. Despite extensive efforts to increase sensitivity and specificity of NBS for GA-1, by adjusting cut-offs and introducing various ratios, the biological diversity still leads to false-negative NBS results for GA-1. Full article
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Editorial
The Editor’s Choice for Issue 1, Volume 7
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020031 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 427
Abstract
Dear Readers: welcome to the second issue of the Editor’s Choice, continuing the tradition started by Peter Schielen’s appraisal of Issue 4 of Volume 6 of IJNS, published in this issue [...] Full article
Article
Successful Implementation of Newborn Screening for Hemoglobin Disorders in the Philippines
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020030 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 814
Abstract
The Philippine newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) program began in 1996 with 24 hospitals and was formalized by legislation in 2004. The NBS panel was recently expanded to include a number of additional hereditary congenital conditions. Expertise and experiences from other NBS programs already [...] Read more.
The Philippine newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) program began in 1996 with 24 hospitals and was formalized by legislation in 2004. The NBS panel was recently expanded to include a number of additional hereditary congenital conditions. Expertise and experiences from other NBS programs already screening for hemoglobinopathies were essential to its successful integration into the ongoing dried bloodspot NBS program in the Philippines. Building on clinical experiences and population data from Filipinos born in California, USA, hemoglobinopathies (including thalassemias) were selected for inclusion in the expanded screening panel. Hemoglobinopathy NBS, using high performance liquid chromatography, was implemented in a stepwise manner into the seven regional NBS screening laboratories. A central university laboratory provides confirmatory testing using both capillary electrophoresis and molecular methodologies. NBS results indicating carriers are followed up with educational fact sheets, while results of presumptive disease are referred for confirmatory testing and follow-up with a hematologist. Long-term care is provided through newborn screening continuity clinics across the country. Hemoglobinopathy NBS is now included in the national insurance package and screening uptake continues to increase nationally, exceeding 90% of all newborns in 7400+ hospitals and birthing centers nationwide prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
First Experiences with Newborn Screening for Congenital Hypothyroidism in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020029 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is among the most common conditions leading to intellectual disability, which can be prevented by early detection through newborn screening (NBS). In Mongolia, a regional screening program for CH was launched in 2000, which was supported by the International Atomic [...] Read more.
Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is among the most common conditions leading to intellectual disability, which can be prevented by early detection through newborn screening (NBS). In Mongolia, a regional screening program for CH was launched in 2000, which was supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Asia Pacific Region. In our present study, a total of 23,002 newborns from nine districts in Ulaanbaatar were screened between 2012 and 2020, by the measurement of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from dried blood spots, sampled 24 to 72 h after birth. The level of TSH was measured by the DELFIA assay. The overall CH prevalence confirmed at birth was 1/2091. The female-to-male ratio for CH cases was 1.8:1. The majority of patients were asymptomatic (72.7% of CH cases); umbilical hernia and cold or mottled skin were reported symptoms in patients with CH (27.3%). Thyroid dysgenesis (hypoplasia and agenesis) was the most common etiology, with a total of nine cases (81.8%) out of the eleven patients. The lapse between the birth date and the initiation of L-thyroxine treatment in CH-positive children was lower than 15 days in 63.64% of cases or 15 to 30 days in 36.36% of children. Further research is required to expand the screening coverage for CH in Mongolia. Full article
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Case Report
Low Psychosine in Krabbe Disease with Onset in Late Infancy: A Case Report
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020028 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 884
Abstract
Krabbe disease (KD) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a deficiency in galactocerebrosidase enzyme activity, which can present in early infancy, requiring an urgent referral for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, or later in life. Newborn screening (NBS) for KD requires identification [...] Read more.
Krabbe disease (KD) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a deficiency in galactocerebrosidase enzyme activity, which can present in early infancy, requiring an urgent referral for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, or later in life. Newborn screening (NBS) for KD requires identification and risk-stratification of patients based on laboratory values to predict disease onset in early infancy or later in life. The biomarker psychosine plays a key role in NBS algorithms to ascertain probability of early-onset disease. This report describes a patient who was screened positive for KD in New York State, had a likely pathogenic genotype, and showed markedly reduced enzyme activity but surprisingly low psychosine levels. The patient ultimately developed KD in late infancy, an outcome not clearly predicted by existing NBS algorithms. It remains critical that psychosine levels be evaluated alongside genotype, enzyme activity levels, and the patient’s evolving clinical presentation, ideally in consultation with experts in KD, in order to guide diagnosis and plans for monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening and Follow-Up Diagnostic Testing for Krabbe Disease)
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Article
Re-Evaluation of the Prevalence of Permanent Congenital Hypothyroidism in Niigata, Japan: A Retrospective Study
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020027 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 956
Abstract
Although newborn screening (NBS) for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) in Japan started more than 40 years ago, the prevalence of CH remains unclear. Prevalence estimations among NBS-positive CH individuals include those with transient hypothyroidism and transient hyperthyrotropinemia, and re-evaluation with increasing age is necessary [...] Read more.
Although newborn screening (NBS) for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) in Japan started more than 40 years ago, the prevalence of CH remains unclear. Prevalence estimations among NBS-positive CH individuals include those with transient hypothyroidism and transient hyperthyrotropinemia, and re-evaluation with increasing age is necessary to clarify the actual incidence. Thus, we re-evaluated the incidence of permanent CH. Of the 106,114 patients who underwent NBS in the Niigata Prefecture, Japan, between April 2002 and March 2006, 116 were examined further due to high thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (>8 mIU/L) and were included in the study. We retrospectively evaluated their levothyroxine sodium (LT4) replacement therapy status from the first visit to 15 years of age. Of the 116 NBS-positive patients, 105 (91%) were initially examined in our department. Of these, 72 (69%) started LT4 replacement therapy on the first visit. Subsequently, 27 patients continued LT4 replacement until 15 years of age after multiple re-evaluations. The prevalence of permanent CH in the Niigata Prefecture during this period was 1 in 2500–3500 children. Ultimately, 62.5% of patients on LT4 replacement discontinued treatment by 15 years of age. This is the first study to clarify the true prevalence of permanent CH in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Newborn Screening in Japan)
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Article
Massachusetts’ Findings from Statewide Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020026 - 23 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1100
Abstract
Massachusetts began newborn screening (NBS) for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) following the availability of new treatment options. The New England Newborn Screening Program developed, validated, and implemented a screening algorithm for the detection of SMA-affected infants who show absent SMN1 Exon 7 by [...] Read more.
Massachusetts began newborn screening (NBS) for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) following the availability of new treatment options. The New England Newborn Screening Program developed, validated, and implemented a screening algorithm for the detection of SMA-affected infants who show absent SMN1 Exon 7 by Real-Time™ quantitative PCR (qPCR). We screened 179,467 neonates and identified 9 SMA-affected infants, all of whom were referred to a specialist by day of life 6 (average and median 4 days of life). Another ten SMN1 hybrids were observed but never referred. The nine referred infants who were confirmed to have SMA were entered into treatment protocols. Early data show that some SMA-affected children have remained asymptomatic and are meeting developmental milestones and some have mild to moderate delays. The Massachusetts experience demonstrates that SMA NBS is feasible, can be implemented on a population basis, and helps engage infants for early treatment to maximize benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy)
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Case Report
Challenges in Diagnosing Intermediate Maple Syrup Urine Disease by Newborn Screening and Functional Validation of Genomic Results Imperative for Reproductive Family Planning
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 25; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020025 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Maple syrup urine disease is caused by a deficiency of branched-chain alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase, responsible for degradation of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Biallelic pathogenic variants in BCKDHA, BCKDHB, or DBT genes result in enzyme deficiency. We report the case of a female [...] Read more.
Maple syrup urine disease is caused by a deficiency of branched-chain alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase, responsible for degradation of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Biallelic pathogenic variants in BCKDHA, BCKDHB, or DBT genes result in enzyme deficiency. We report the case of a female infant who presented with mild gross motor delay at 4 months, and seizures with hypoglycaemia at 5 months. Newborn screening returned total leucine/isoleucine at the 99.5th centile of the population; however, as second-tier testing reported minimal alloisoleucine, the results were considered inconsistent with MSUD. Plasma amino acid and urine organic acid analyses at 5 months were, however, consistent with a diagnosis of MSUD. A brain MRI showed bilateral symmetrical T2 hyperintense signal abnormalities involving white matter, globus pallidus, thalamus, brainstem, and dentate nuclei with restricted diffusion. A repeat MRI 10 months post-dietary-intervention showed the resolution of these changes and progression in myelination. Her clinical phenotype, including protein tolerance, correlated with intermediate MSUD. Molecular analysis of all three genes identified two variants of uncertain significance, c.434-15_434-4del and c.365A>G (p. Tyr122Cys) in the DBT gene. The rate of leucine decarboxylation in fibroblasts was reduced, but not to the extent observed in classical MSUD patients, supporting an intermediate form of MSUD. Previously reported mRNA splicing studies supported a deleterious effect of the c.434-15_434-4del variant. This functional evidence and confirmation that the variants were in trans, permitted their reclassification as pathogenic and likely pathogenic, respectively, facilitating subsequent prenatal testing. This report highlights the challenges in identifying intermediate MSUD by newborn screening, reinforcing the importance of functional studies to confirm variant pathogenicity in this era of molecular diagnostics. Full article
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Article
Newborn Screening for Krabbe Disease—Illinois Experience: Role of Psychosine in Diagnosis of the Disease
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020024 - 09 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 734
Abstract
Population-based newborn screening for Krabbe disease was initiated by measurement of galactocerebrosidase (GALC) activity in the state of Illinois in December 2017. Due to the poor specificity of GALC for the diagnosis of Krabbe disease, second-tier testing services were provided to reduce the [...] Read more.
Population-based newborn screening for Krabbe disease was initiated by measurement of galactocerebrosidase (GALC) activity in the state of Illinois in December 2017. Due to the poor specificity of GALC for the diagnosis of Krabbe disease, second-tier testing services were provided to reduce the false positive rates for disease monitoring. Using ultra-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry assay, a total of 497,147 newborns were screened. In total, 288 infants’ specimens (0.06%) having reduced GALC activity were sent out for second-tier testing to a reference laboratory. All newborns’ reduced GALC specimens were tested for psychosine levels, the presence of a 30-kb deletion and GALC sequencing. The results showed that two infants had elevated psychosine levels (10 and 35 nM) and were referred immediately for evaluation and treatment for Infantile Krabbe disease, and six infants had intermediate PSY levels (≥2 to 5 nM) and are under observation as suspected candidates for late-onset Krabbe disease. In addition, 178 infants had pseudodeficiency alleles, all having psychosine levels < 2.0 nM. Our data show that a high percentage of reduced GALC activity (62%) was due to the presence of pseudodeficiency alleles in the GALC gene. In conclusion, incorporation of psychosine measurements can identify infants with infantile Krabbe disease and probable late-onset Krabbe infants. Furthermore, Krabbe disease screening can be achieved at public health laboratories, and infants with infantile Krabbe disease can be diagnosed in timely manner for better outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening and Follow-Up Diagnostic Testing for Krabbe Disease)
Article
A Novel Approach to Improve Newborn Screening for Congenital Hypothyroidism by Integrating Covariate-Adjusted Results of Different Tests into CLIR Customized Interpretive Tools
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020023 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
Newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism remains challenging decades after broad implementation worldwide. Testing protocols are not uniform in terms of targets (TSH and/or T4) and protocols (parallel vs. sequential testing; one or two specimen collection times), and specificity (with or without collection of [...] Read more.
Newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism remains challenging decades after broad implementation worldwide. Testing protocols are not uniform in terms of targets (TSH and/or T4) and protocols (parallel vs. sequential testing; one or two specimen collection times), and specificity (with or without collection of a second specimen) is overall poor. The purpose of this retrospective study is to investigate the potential impact of multivariate pattern recognition software (CLIR) to improve the post-analytical interpretation of screening results. Seven programs contributed reference data (N = 1,970,536) and two sets of true (TP, N = 1369 combined) and false (FP, N = 15,201) positive cases for validation and verification purposes, respectively. Data were adjusted for age at collection, birth weight, and location using polynomial regression models of the fifth degree to create three-dimensional regression surfaces. Customized Single Condition Tools and Dual Scatter Plots were created using CLIR to optimize the differential diagnosis between TP and FP cases in the validation set. Verification testing correctly identified 446/454 (98%) of the TP cases, and could have prevented 1931/5447 (35%) of the FP cases, with variable impact among locations (range 4% to 50%). CLIR tools either as made here or preferably standardized to the recommended uniform screening panel could improve performance of newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CLIR Applications for Newborn Screening)
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Article
Adrenoleukodystrophy Newborn Screening in California Since 2016: Programmatic Outcomes and Follow-Up
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020022 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 764
Abstract
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a recent addition to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, prompting many states to begin screening newborns for the disorder. We provide California’s experience with ALD newborn screening, highlighting the clinical and epidemiological outcomes observed as well as program implementation [...] Read more.
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a recent addition to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, prompting many states to begin screening newborns for the disorder. We provide California’s experience with ALD newborn screening, highlighting the clinical and epidemiological outcomes observed as well as program implementation challenges. In this retrospective cohort study, we examine ALD newborn screening results and clinical outcomes for 1,854,631 newborns whose specimens were received by the California Genetic Disease Screening Program from 16 February 2016 through 15 February 2020. In the first four years of ALD newborn screening in California, 355 newborns screened positive for ALD, including 147 (41%) with an ABCD1 variant of uncertain significance (VUS) and 95 males diagnosed with ALD. After modifying cutoffs, we observed an ALD birth prevalence of 1 in 14,397 males. Long-term follow-up identified 14 males with signs of adrenal involvement. This study adds to a growing body of literature reporting on outcomes of newborn screening for ALD and offering a glimpse of what other large newborn screening programs can expect when adding ALD to their screening panel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Newborn Screening and Follow-Up for X-ALD)
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Article
Long-Term Neurological Outcomes of Adult Patients with Phenylketonuria before and after Newborn Screening in Japan
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2021, 7(2), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijns7020021 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Japanese newborn screening (NBS) for phenylketonuria (PKU) was initiated in 1977. We surveyed the neurological outcomes of Japanese adult patients with PKU to investigate the long-term effects and of and issues with NBS. Eighty-five patients with PKU aged over 19 years who continued [...] Read more.
Japanese newborn screening (NBS) for phenylketonuria (PKU) was initiated in 1977. We surveyed the neurological outcomes of Japanese adult patients with PKU to investigate the long-term effects and of and issues with NBS. Eighty-five patients with PKU aged over 19 years who continued to be treated with a phenylalanine-free amino acid formula were investigated by administering questionnaires regarding clinical characteristics, such as mental ability, education status, and therapeutic condition. Of the 85 subjects, 68 patients were detected by NBS (NBS group), while the other 17 were clinically diagnosed before the initiation of NBS (pre-NBS group). Further, 10 of the 68 NBS patients presented intellectual and/or psychiatric disabilities, 5 of whom had a history of treatment discontinuation; in contrast, 12 of the 17 pre-NBS patients presented with neuropsychiatric symptoms. Regarding social outcomes, almost all patients in the NBS group could live an independent life, while over half of the patients in the pre-NBS group were not employed or lived in nursing-care facilities. Neurological outcomes are obviously improved by NBS in Japan. However, some patients, even those detected by NBS, developed neuropsychiatric symptoms due to treatment disruption. Lifelong and strict management is essential to maintain good neurological and social prognoses for patients with PKU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Newborn Screening in Japan)
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