Two-Day Test Can Spot Gene Diseases in Newborns

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new rapid way to decode the DNA of sick newborns may help doctors diagnose genetic diseases faster in their tiniest patients - in roughly two days instead of weeks.

Gene-mapping currently takes so long, and is so expensive, that it's not part of routine medical care. But researchers at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., say a speedier method could shorten the anguished wait for a diagnosis for some newborns in intensive care.

They combined a faster gene-analyzing machine with a computer program that uses a baby's symptoms to zero in on the most likely culprit. Wednesday, they reported using the faster test to help diagnose a handful of babies, and plan to begin more routine gene mapping of sick newborns by year's end.

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