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Speedy DNA tests for NICU babies

 
Docs using new DNA test won’t have to wait weeks to diagnose babies.
baby in incubator
By Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
Up to a third of newborn infants admitted to neonatal ICU in the US suffer from genetic diseases or conditions. A new rapid-screening genetic test can now assist doctors in diagnosing these genetic issues within 50 hours of birth, rather than the weeks or months such tests used to take, according to Time Healthland.

Genetic library

This latest technology includes the ability to decode the DNA and identify the sequences of  3,500 diseases known to be linked to single-gene mutations, of which doctors are able to treat around 500. A doctor simply needs to pinpoint certain symptoms, and the software will isolate the most likely gene suspects. DNA tests can then compare the patient’s genes for similar mutations.

It’s great news for moms and dads of babies born with health problems stemming from genetic diseases- previously DNA testing was too costly and time consuming to be of practical use, resulting in the loss of lives of many sick babies, whose conditions would only be discovered post-mortem, if at all.

The screening is only taking place in the US at an experimental level, but even preliminary tests indicate that it will be a vital part of NICU diagnosis and treatment in the future, allowing more babies to get the correct medical intervention much faster.

Would you allow a doctor to use DNA tests on your newborn?

Read more on: genes  |  parenting  |  scott dunlop
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