Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Resources
Basic Information
Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
More InformationLatest News
Infant Pain Heightened After Opioid Exposure in WombPutting Your Child to Sleep in a Car Seat Can Be DeadlySwallowed Batteries Should Be Removed to Avoid Stomach Damage: StudyHealth Tip: Physical Milestones at Age OneWhat to Do When Your Child Throws a FitLow Birth Weight Babies a Worldwide ProblemQuieter NICUs a Good Rx for Premature BabiesHow to Soothe Baby's Teething Pain SafelyHow to Protect Your Child From ChokingNearly 700,000 Infant Rocking Sleepers Recalled Due to Infant DeathsBreast Milk Has Biggest Benefit for Preemies' Brains: StudyBabies Still Dying Due to Unsafe Sleep PracticesHealth Tip: Choosing a Car SeatHot-Car Deaths Hit Record High in 2018Newborn's 'Microbiome' Could Give Clues to Weight LaterKids' ER Visits for Swallowing Toys, Foreign Objects Have Doubled Since 1990sHealth Tip: Treating an Infant's FeverPediatricians' Group Calls for Recall of 'Rock 'n Play' Sleeper After Infant DeathsPreventing Kids' Food Allergies Starts in InfancyTen Infant Deaths Linked to Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play SleepersBaby-Led Eating: A Healthier ApproachIs That Medication Safe When Breastfeeding?Fussy Baby May Raise Mom's Risk of DepressionExposing Baby to Foods Early May Help Prevent AllergiesSmoking While Pregnant Sends SIDS Risk SoaringKeep Your Child Safe in Her High Chair6 Years: How Long New Parents Can Expect to Lose SleepHealth Tip: Choking Hazards for ChildrenFeatherlight, Wireless Sensors Let Parents Cuddle Their PreemiesPainless Ways to Limit Your Kids' Screen TimeBreastfeeding May Cut Kids' Eczema RiskScreen Time for the Very Young Has Doubled in 20 Years: StudyGlass-Fronted Fireplaces Pose Burn Dangers for KidsUp to 1 Hour of General Anesthesia Safe for Infants: StudyPumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed VersionHealth Tip: Signs of Vision Problems in InfantsClimate Change Could Bring More Infant Heart Defects: StudyOpioid Danger to Newborns Varies By RegionToo Much Screen Time a Damper on Child's DevelopmentHealth Tip: Talk to Your BabyIVF Won't Cause Birth Complications: StudyBaby Steps Head Off a Fussy EaterWhy It's Important to Boost Baby's Vocabulary NowDecoding Newborn's DNA Could Pinpoint Hidden RisksTeething Jewelry Linked to at Least One Baby's Death: FDAHealth Tip: Keep Toys SimpleNose Holds Clues to Baby's First ColdOpioids Exact Another Toll on Newborns: Smaller HeadsScans, Ultrasound Spot Zika Brain DefectsCost of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: $23,000 Annually Per Case
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)

Decoding Newborn's DNA Could Pinpoint Hidden Risks

HealthDay News
by -- Steven Reinberg
Updated: Jan 4th 2019

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Jan. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A program that maps out the genes of newborns has allowed researchers to identify risks for some inherited childhood conditions, many of which can be prevented.

The so-called BabySeq Project discovered that slightly more than 9 percent of infants carry genes that put them at risk for medical conditions as they reach childhood.

"The BabySeq Project is the first randomized trial of sequencing in newborns and the first study to fully examine the wealth of unanticipated genetic risk information in children," said Dr. Robert Green, co-director of the study and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

"We were stunned by the number of babies with unanticipated genetic findings that could lead to disease prevention in the future," he said in a news release from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

DNA sequencing can identify risks for a wide range of disorders that may not be detected otherwise, the study authors noted. Finding these mutations early may lead to helping newborns live better lives and ease the worries of their families.

For the study, Green and his colleagues randomly assigned 128 healthy newborns and 31 ill infants to have their DNA sequenced.

Among all the babies, 9.4 percent had a gene mutation that increased the risk of a disorder that arises or is manageable during childhood, or a mutation that conferred a moderate risk for a condition for which treatment during childhood might prevent devastating outcomes later in life.

Mutations included those linked to several heart conditions that affect how the heart functions, according to the report. These conditions can be monitored, and families have been referred to cardiac specialists.

One newborn had a risk for biotin deficiency, which can lead to skin rash, hair loss and seizures. That child's diet is now being supplemented with biotin, which should prevent any symptoms, the researchers said.

Senior study author Alan Beggs explained that "sequencing results have potential to raise questions that may be upsetting for parents, but could also lead to helpful or even lifesaving interventions." Beggs is director of The Manton Center of Orphan Disease Research at Boston Children's Hospital.

"Only time will tell how the costs -- both financial and in terms of extra medical testing and family stress -- balance out against the benefits. That's what we're really trying to find out," he said.

The researchers also offered parents information about their child's risk for adult-onset conditions. Three of 85 infants whose parents agreed to receive this information had these types of gene mutations. These variants were also found in the mothers of the three children.

Green said, "Disclosing genetic risk for adult-onset conditions in children has been discouraged in traditional genetics in order to protect the child's 'right not to know,' but our results demonstrate that many parents want access to this information about their child."

He added that the "findings suggest that thoroughly sequencing newborns reveals potentially lifesaving information in both infants and their parents far more commonly than was previously thought, and should encourage our entire field to re-evaluate the value of comprehensively analyzing and disclosing genomic information at any age."

The report was published Jan. 3 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

More information

For more on genetic sequencing, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.