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2022 Newborn Screening (NBS) Awareness Month: India Currently Offers Test

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2022 Newborn Screening (NBS) Awareness Month: India Currently Offers Test

It might be difficult for paediatricians to make an early diagnosis of inborn metabolic errors (IEM) because the majority of these illnesses have no symptoms when a baby is first born. The majority of IEM instances are discovered a few days or even a few years after birth, by which point the brain has already suffered irreparable damage that puts the patient’s life in danger or has caused additional disabilities.

The most crucial test to identify these conditions early is newborn screening (NBS), which allows for early intervention and therapy for the kid. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the newborn screening tests that are now available in India, the state of newborn screening testing there, and any potential future trends. September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month.

India’s current newborn screening test options

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Dr. Suresh Birajdar, a neonatologist and paediatrician at Motherhood Hospital in Kharghar, stated in an interview with HT Lifestyle that “the screening is done before babies are discharged from the hospital, or shortly after birth. The disorders that are examined during newborn screening have a history of seriously affecting children’s or infants’ health. Physical and intellectual problems can be avoided by identifying these disorders quickly and treating them. When it comes to metabolic and genetic abnormalities, newborn screening (NBS) is crucial since early diagnosis and treatment can help to avert both physical and mental impairments as well as life-threatening illnesses.

In response to a question about the procedure in our nation, he stated, “In India, newborn screening is done to determine whether the child has any issues, such as hearing loss, congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, and a few other metabolic conditions. If not treated before the age of six months, congenital hearing loss is a serious disorder that can affect speech and hearing permanently. Another frequent condition in infants and one of the preventable causes of intellectual impairment is congenital hypothyroidism.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia can result in mortality, morbidity, or genital abnormalities if it is not diagnosed at birth, the doctor warned. In our nation, G6PD deficiency is a frequent illness that can lead to anaemia and jaundice in youngsters. The newborns should also be screened for diseases like phenylketonuria, homocystinuria, alkaptonuria, galactosemia, sickle cell anaemia, hemoglobinopathies, heart issues, mucopolysaccharidosis type 1, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), cystic fibrosis, biotinidase deficiency, maple syrup urine disease, medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogen

Dr. Suresh Birajdar elaborated, “After allowing the paper to dry, it is sent to the laboratory, where numerous different newborn screening tests are performed, explaining that newborn screening is a blood test that requires a few drops of blood to be collected on a special filter paper by pricking the heel of the child. Tandem mass spectrometry is the name of the technique utilised to conduct these tests. The baby is unharmed as a result of the heel poke. Each baby receives a lancet, a specialist needle, and there is no chance of infection. Through screening, more than 100 metabolic and genetic disorders can be found.

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India’s newborn screening programme is currently inactive.

Dr. Suresh Birajdar noted that congenital cardiac disorders and genetic anomalies are more common in infants and added, “Due to parents’ increased awareness about NBS, they are not skipping the tests as they are proactive when it comes to the child’s health. Now that hospitals and doctors are advising couples about screening to find various health risks in the babies, NBS has become a priority. Along with India, NBS is successful in many other nations, thus parents should be urged to choose the screening option for their newborns. The NBS is in demand because infants are having more metabolic, endocrine, genetic, and haemoglobin issues.

Indian new-born screening test trends to watch

If not identified and treated in a timely manner, inborn metabolic errors, or IEM, can be harmful and even fatal. IEM cause physical issues and damage to the brain. Even if a kid has a disease, there is a chance that they won’t exhibit any symptoms of it when they are delivered, according to Dr. Suresh Birajdar. In contrast, NBS can identify and identify these problems at birth and assist the child in leading a healthy life. Amino acid disorders, fatty acid disorders, organic acid disorders, endocrine diseases, and haemoglobin problems are all testable by NBS.

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Study: Maternal obesity more accurately predicts risk of heart disease than pregnancy issues.

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Study: Maternal obesity more accurately predicts risk of heart disease than pregnancy issues.

Maternal health during pregnancy is a critical factor in the well-being of both the mother and the child. While a range of issues can arise during pregnancy, new research suggests that maternal obesity may be a more accurate predictor of heart disease risk than specific complications during pregnancy. This study sheds light on the long-term health implications of obesity and emphasizes the importance of addressing this public health concern. In this blog, we’ll explore the findings of this study and their broader implications.

A Stronger Predictor of Heart Disease Risk than Pregnancy Complications

A recent study published in a medical journal has attracted attention for its focus on maternal obesity and its impact on future heart disease risk. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of medical records of women who had given birth in the past decade, tracking their health outcomes over time. The study found that maternal obesity is a more robust predictor of heart disease risk than specific pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.

Key Findings

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  1. Long-term Risk: The study’s findings suggest that maternal obesity is associated with a significantly higher risk of heart disease in the years following pregnancy. This highlights the importance of addressing obesity as a long-term health concern, not just a temporary condition associated with pregnancy.
  2. Preeclampsia and Gestational Diabetes: While preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are well-known complications of pregnancy that can impact maternal health, the study found that these conditions did not have as strong a correlation with future heart disease risk as maternal obesity.
  3. Weight Management: The study underscores the importance of proactive weight management for women before, during, and after pregnancy. It highlights that addressing obesity may have a more significant impact on reducing heart disease risk than solely focusing on managing specific pregnancy-related complications.

Implications

  1. Public Health Focus: Maternal obesity is a critical public health issue that extends beyond pregnancy. This research reinforces the need for society and healthcare systems to prioritize weight management and obesity prevention strategies to reduce the long-term health risks associated with obesity.
  2. Holistic Approach: Healthcare providers should consider a holistic approach to maternal health that includes not only addressing pregnancy-related issues but also focusing on a woman’s overall well-being, including weight management and cardiovascular health.
  3. Education and Support: Women planning to become pregnant or already expecting should receive information, education, and support regarding the importance of maintaining a healthy weight before and after childbirth. Health professionals can play a vital role in providing guidance and resources.

The findings of this study highlight the critical role that maternal obesity plays in predicting future heart disease risk, even more so than specific pregnancy complications. This research serves as a call to action for healthcare providers, policymakers, and society as a whole to prioritize the prevention and management of obesity to safeguard the long-term health of women and reduce their risk of heart disease. Addressing this public health issue early can lead to healthier mothers, healthier pregnancies, and ultimately healthier families.

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