FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2007
Contact: Laurie Fink, Director of Media Relations: 301-841-2602
Michigan Passes Newborn Screening Law for Cystic Fibrosis
State Joins 35 Others in Screening for Life-Threatening, Genetic Disease
(Washington, D.C.)— Newborns in Michigan will be screened for cystic fibrosis (CF), beginning in the fall of 2007. Michigan is the 36th state in the country, plus the District of Columbia, to join the roster of states that support routine CF screening at birth.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is important because more than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptomless carriers of a cystic fibrosis gene. And, most people who have a child with CF are not aware of a family history of the disease. Cystic fibrosis causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and other organs, causing life-threatening infections and serious digestive complications.
Research studies show that newborn screening for CF will likely improve and extend the lives of those born with CF. Specifically, early diagnosis allows affected infants to begin nutritional interventions immediately. In research studies on the benefits of newborn screening, these interventions have been shown to improve height, weight and cognitive function, as well as benefits in maintaining or improving lung function and life expectancy, and in reducing hospitalizations.
The Michigan Department of Community Health spearheaded the effort to require CF screening at birth and recommended that CF be added to the roster of diseases that were already screened in Michigan. Newborn screening for CF involves a blood test that searches for the most common defective gene in cystic fibrosis patients. Dr. Samya Naser, director of the pediatric CF care center at the University of Michigan Health System, will chair an implementation panel for the state.
“We are excited that Michigan has joined a growing list of states dedicated to supporting newborn screening,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Early diagnosis for cystic fibrosis is critically important because it gives every newborn a better chance for better health and a longer life.”
When the CF Foundation was created in 1955, few children lived to attend elementary school. Today, as a result of dramatic improvements in research and care, supported by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, the median age of survival for a person with CF is nearly 37 years. The CF Foundation strongly urges all states to implement comprehensive programs for routine newborn screening for cystic fibrosis.
About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization in the United States devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation has more than 80 chapters and branch offices throughout the country and supports and accredits a nationwide network of more than 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. For more information, visit www.cff.org.
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