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Study Suggests Ways of Improving Newborn Screening for Sickle Cell Disease

Researchers in Spain have defined cutoff points in hemoglobin measuring that can improve sensitivity and specificity to neonatal screening for sickle cell disease (SCD). Scientists can apply the method to diagnose other blood disorders, leading to better neonatal care.

Their report, “Impact of prematurity and immigration on neonatal screening for sickle cell disease,” appeared in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Measuring levels of different hemoglobins in infants is essential in diagnosing SCD. Previous research had described the relationship among hemoglobin A levels, the duration of the pregnancy, the baby’s gender and the mother’s ethnicity. However, those studies never defined normal cutoff points for different neonatal hemoglobins that took such factors into account, thereby compromising the sensitivity of these diagnostic tests.