Worries linger even after false-positive diagnoses are ruled out
Virtually all babies in the U.S. have their heels pricked soon after birth to get a blood sample for genetic testing. These "heel stick" tests identify rare metabolic disorders before they cause irreversible damage, but as more disorders are added to the screening – many states now test for 30 or more – false-positive results are on the rise. In the June issue of Pediatrics, researchers from Childrens Hospital Boston report that false-positive results cause considerable parental stress, even when the baby proves negative on retesting, and that the stress could be alleviated by better education for parents and pediatricians.
Psychologist Susan Waisbren, PhD and Elizabeth Gurian, MS in Childrens Division of Genetics interviewed 173 families who had received false-positive screening results and a comparison group of 67 families with normal newborn screening results.
Jamie Newton | EurekAlert!
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