Lansing, MI - As part of Newborn Screening Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Newborn Screening Program is announcing the addition of a new test that could prevent life-long disabilities or death for affected Michiganders.
This fall, a test is being added for X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). This disorder most severely affects males, although females can be carriers and develop some symptoms as adults. Males with X-ALD may develop behavioral problems, learning difficulties and muscle weakness. Specialized treatment can help those with X-ALD live the healthiest lives possible.
“Michigan’s Newborn Screening Program impacts the lives of every family who has an infant born in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “I want to thank all birthing hospitals in our state for their tireless work and commitment to promoting the health of Michigan’s children through newborn screening.”
Michigan’s newborn screening system provides testing and follow-up for more than 50 conditions that, if not detected early, would result in serious disability or death. The goal of program is to identify babies with rare but serious disorders that require early treatment. Through three tests – blood, hearing and heart screening – newborns with those treatable conditions can be identified and treated, helping prevent complications and improving their overall health and well-being.
Approximately 7.2 million Michigan newborns have been screened since the start of Michigan’s Newborn Screening Program in 1965. Each year, around 275 Michigan babies – one in 410 births – are found to have a disorder detected by newborn bloodspot screening. Since 1965, more than 6,600 newborns in the state have received early identification and the opportunity for life-saving treatment as a result of newborn screening.
For Canton resident Mike Finkel, newborn screening saved him from brain damage 30 years ago and has allowed him to pursue a career in medicine.
“Thanks to newborn screening, I was found to have a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) and referred for early treatment at just a few days old,” said Finkel. “Without this program, I would have surely suffered permanent brain damage. Instead, I am healthy and able to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor."