Metabolic disorder screening: Peace of mind for $25

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When someone has a metabolic disorder, their cells can't properly process certain building blocks of food -- a certain kind of protein, for example. Instead of being metabolized into other chemicals that are useful to the body, the substance builds up as a poison, potentially causing high blood acid levels, mental retardation, or even death. With medication and diet, a metabolic disorder can be managed and the damaging effects averted in most cases if the disorder is identified early enough.

Within the first day after a baby is born, a nurse will prick his heel, take a few drops of blood and put it on blotter paper, and send it off to a state lab to be tested for some relatively common metabolic disorders, like PKU. Every state mandates such a test. Most parents probably aren't aware it's even been done, much less why. (Here's a table in PDF format showing which states require newborn screening for which conditions.)

But there are dozens of other metabolic disorders for which screening isn't required. Oklahoma requires screening for only two of 20 "core" metabolic conditions, and only one of 25 secondary target conditions.

I know a boy who has a rare metabolic disorder that wasn't caught by the state-mandated screening. As a toddler, he could get a simple cold and wind up in the hospital with high blood acid levels and dehydration. It took a couple of years before his parents finally found a doctor who thought to check for a metabolic disorder. Today this boy is a bright, healthy, athletic teenager. Specialists were able to teach him and his parents how to control and monitor his condition with diet and medication. They could have been spared a few terrifying years if expanded metabolic screening had been available and if they'd known about it.

The March of Dimes website has information about newborn screening tests. The National Newborn Screening Research and Genetics Center has a list of commercial and non-profit labs that will screen for 30 or more additional conditions for as little as $25. You send off for the kit before the baby is due to arrive, you give it to your pediatrician, and they have the sample drawn shortly after your child is born. You drop the completed kit in the envelope with a check for processing and wait for the results.

(Before you send off for a kit, though, check with your hospital or pediatrician. They may already offer expanded newborn screening.)

I'm not a fan of state mandates, but this is such an inexpensive way to prevent serious mental and medical problems, I wish Oklahoma required expanded screening for all newborns, as many other states now do.

But don't wait for the state. If you're expecting, or know someone who is, get a kit and have the wee one screened.


Bob said:

When the Government "mandates" something, like newborn screening, they are usually operating on multiple agendas.

While the surface pretext may be the health of the newborn for certain extremely rare genetic or metabolic conditions, the secret collateral benefit for the Government is an involuntary DNA sample from EVERY NEWBORN, which is added to the national DNA database, a database used by Law Enforcement. Oh, they forgot to volunteer that little fact?

Likewise, the proposed E-911 service cell phone $.50 monthly tax that on the surface is being touted as a public safety measure, and which we will vote on Dec. 13, has the Government advocates assurances that "First Responders" will not use the GPS locating chip embedded in each new cell phone to know all users whereabouts at ALL TIMES.

However, since when were the FBI "First Responders"??? Their dissembling answer is the published public assurances we are getting from the Advocates agitating for this new "public safety" tax.

Dec. 13, we will be voting to pay for the privilege of having the FBI track our whereabouts via our cell phone GPS responder whenever that cell phone is ON....Oh, they didn't mention that fact either?

W. Author Profile Page said:

Bob, I've heard that tinfoil hats will help stop those feds from reading your brainwaves, too.

Jeez ... if you're that paranoid, don't have a cell phone. I don't have one (simply because I'm cheap), and my life doesn't feel incomplete or anything like that.

Bob said:

Yeah, Yeah, the old Tin Foil Hat personal attack.

Well, mein Kamerad, Tin Foil wrap will definitely interfere with the LEO in the Police Car that's pulled up next to you from remotely reading the RFID chip in your new Oklahoma Driver's License. Oh, you mean the DPS didn't disclose that little fact to you when you renewed your Oklahoma Driver's License, the one where they digitized your fingerprints?

Cell phones are such a useful convenience. Some bright boy in the Big Brother Department very knowledgeable about Signals technology also figured out that if a GPS chip was embedded in each phone, that real-time tracking of EVERY active cell phone user could be logged.

And, I wonder what financial incentives were given by the Government to those cell phone makers to install GPS tracking chips in EVERY newer phone?

Very curiously, after patiently working with several different knowledgeable cell phone technicians, NONE of them could use the cell phone menu to turn OFF the GPS tracking.

Wonder Why?? Because somebody in the Government doesn't WANT you to ELECT to turn off the GPS tracker chip.....

My, my, my. Yep, definitely Tin Foil Hat time if you don't want the FBI tracking and recording every move of every Cell Phone user in the U.S. And, of course, storing that information; Forever.

Your tax dollars at work: 2 Trillion dollars per year. And counting.............

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 30, 2005 10:16 PM.

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