Newborn Screening Returns To Nevada

MGN Online

RENO, NV - Before any baby leaves the hospital he will have some blood drawn from his heel.

That blood is screened to detect things like Sickle Cell Anemia, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and PKU---diseases that can cause brain damage or death if not detected early.

For years in Nevada, such testing was sent to Oregon, but as of last month, the testing is going on here at the Nevada Lab.

"I'm hopeful that by saying you know we are sending it to Nevada, and if anything is unusual, they have to get a repeat specimen, that they are taking it to Nevada people, then they will be excited for that,'”says Dr. Trudy Larson with the Newborn Screening Program.

At a media launch Monday morning, Dr. Larson talked about why the testing was originally sent to Oregon and why now with Nevada's growing population and expertise, it can return to our state.

It also means $2,000,000 will stay here to pay for medical and lab personnel who do the work.

The move was also possible because of a donation from biomedical researcher Mick Hitchcock that allowed the purchase of analytical testing machines.

Thus far the lab is analyzing 200 to 450 samples a day.

The newborn screening program will also allow the School of Community Health Sciences and the medical school to apply for grants they could not qualify for when the Nevada tests were screened in Oregon.