Health Watch - Treating Children: Newborn Screening

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about research focused on the youngest patients. Doctors can prevent many medical problems by detecting and treating illnesses as soon as possible. That’s why newborn infants are screened for a number of infections and other disorders soon after birth. Researchers are trying to find easier ways to screen for more illnesses.

One common test performed on newborns is a heel-stick test, in which the infant’s heel is pricked to get a drop of blood that can be analyzed for a variety of diseases. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have, unfortunately, found that this test isn’t accurate in diagnosing cytomegalovirus, or CMV, infection, which is a major cause of deafness.

Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a UT Southwestern pediatrician, says the test missed about half the infected infants. Doctors really want to find an effective screening for this infection as a way to prevent deafness.


July 2010

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.