You know, I never thought twice about the newborn screenings they do when you have a baby. I figured they must be important or they wouldn’t do them. Until I read this article form Junkfood Science. I know some of you have heard about the PKU test…the one that detects the rare metabolic disorder where the body can’t break down a certain amino acid and ultimately causes mental retardation. The test was meant to detect it early so they could start a restricted diet to lessen or prevent the mental retardation it causes. Sounds good right? Who wouldn’t want this test done on their children?
But there is a down side. When they started the newer test in 1960, there were an overwhelmingly number of false positives. What doctors didn’t know was that with a healthy child (say one with a false positive) that the restrictive diet recommended for PKU could be just as damaging. There were many many healthy children that were damaged, even killed, because of this false positive test result and subsequent treatment.
Now, the article isn’t so much about PKU…but the dangers inherent in forcing testing on newborns without any long term studies…as well as doing these tests without parental consent. That isn’t even the bad part!!! The bad part is that not only can most states test your baby without your consent, they can also store your baby’s genetic material to be given to a lab at a later time for scientific research…again without your consent.
Now, add that to this miraculous new way that medical databases are being merged and easier to check by, oh lets say, insurance companies….
See where I am getting with this?