With the potential for catching serious metabolic disorders before symptoms appear, medical laboratories in the United States are increasingly screening newborns using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) technology. A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows about 500,000 newborns underwent such screening last year, up from 60,000 in 1996. This report, "Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Metabolic Disease Screening Among Newborns" (www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5003a1.htm), evaluates barriers and offers recommendations and standards for states interested in implementing MS/MS screening programs. "One issue is to get national databases to gather data on these low prevalence disorders," says Harry Hannon, chief of CDC's clinical biochemistry branch. Scott Grosse, the program analyst who also worked on this report, explains, "One of the recommendations ... is the need to collect outcome data--to track the children who are identified, and track their health and evaluation data."...
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