Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Jul 31, 2008
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version
Google



Tamil Nadu
Metroplus Theatrefest 2008

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |



Tamil Nadu - Chennai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Inborn defects can be set right from birth

Ramya Kannan

Screening of newborns for metabolic disorders is a matter of course in U.S.

CHENNAI: Did you know that prevention begins right from the moment the child is born? That it is possible, with tests, to begin to effect a lifestyle change for a healthy life almost immediately? With the right kind of technology, indeed it is possible.

Screening of newborns for metabolic disorders, caused by genetic inheritance or when there is a toxic build-up of chemicals in the body, is being practised as a matter of course in the United States. Even apparently healthy babies might contain a rogue gene in them that could cause problems later on, leading to a poor quality of life and even death. In 47 of the 50 states of America, it is a norm for hospitals to perform tests for inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) as soon as the child is born. That is how 24 hours after Ayden Mookken was born in an American hospital in 2005, doctors told the Mookkens that their healthy cherub had G6PD. Categorised as an IED the condition could be fatal. “Thankfully, all we had to do was to ensure that Ayden avoided certain types of food. Early detection means we start treatment early and therefore have better outcomes,” says his father Thomas Mookken who is vice-president, NeoGen Labs.

The Indian Council for Medical Research has funded a project to study metabolic errors among newborns in five centres across the country. In Chennai, the Foetal Care Research Centre, a non-profit subsidiary launched by Mediscan Systems, will implement the project at the Government Hospital for Women, Egmore.

“We will be testing for two common metabolic disorders — congenital hypothyrodism and congenital adrenalin hyperplasia,” says S. Suresh, director, Mediscan, who also established the Foetal Care Research Centre. While congenital hypothyroidism results from the failure of the thyroid gland to develop fully and can lead to abnormal physical and mental development, in congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the gender of a child might be ambiguous. Sample collection will begin on Wednesday at the IOG.

All babies born in the IOG will automatically be part of the ICMR study, says K.Saraswathy, director, IOG. Since it is being funded by ICMR, the parents will have to pay nothing for the tests, she added. Dr.Suresh clarifies that with a tiny heel prick, five drops of blood are extracted from the baby born after a full term within 24 – 48 hours of delivery.

The funding from ICMR is to test nation-wide 20,000 new borns for the two IEMs and build a database for the first time ever in the country. In the private sector, Dr.Suresh says, typically three parameters are tested for all babies. NeoGen, based in Bangalore, offers tests for 50 disorders since September 2007.

“It is a good idea to test babies irrespective of whether they fall in the high risk category or not. If you can catch them early, you can bring them around,” Dr.Suresh adds. “Once we identify the disorder, we need to do a confirmation test and also provide appropriate advice and treatment in order to truly benefit the children,” he explains.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Tamil Nadu

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |




News Update



The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Copyright 2008, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu