Alabama begins screening newborns for 2 additional genetic disorders

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 2:04 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama has started screening for two additional genetic but treatable disorders in newborns.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the new disorders added to the state’s newborn screening panel are:

  • X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is a rare genetic disorder caused by a single gene change affecting males. X-ALD happens when certain fats cannot be broken down in the body. The fats build up and cause health problems, including damage to the nervous system and adrenal glands. Possible treatments for X-ALD include supportive therapies (such as physical therapy), steroid treatment, and stem cell transplants.
  • Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) is an inherited disorder that damages the immune system. It can be deadly in childhood because of severe recurrent infections. Individuals with ADA-SCID lack all immune protection from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Gene therapy, bone marrow transplantation or enzyme replacement therapy may be effective for treating ADA-SCID if started early.

ADPH is partnering with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to evaluate and confirm the diagnosis for these two conditions. ADPH also provides information to healthcare providers and families for appropriate treatment.

Newborn screenings can alert healthcare providers and parents to potential conditions that are typically not apparent at birth, ADPH added. Most affected babies can be treated for conditions identified in the screening and can have the opportunity to grow up healthy and develop normally.

For a list of the other screenings that are part of Alabama’s newborn screening panel, click this link.

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