2/10/03 - Healthy Efforts



By: Wendy Ray

Last month on Heartland Health, we told you about a Heartland mom's push for expanded newborn screenings, something that could have saved her a lot of heartache.

Now, there's a national effort to get all newborns tested.
A company called Neo-Gen is meeting with hospitals and pediatricians across the country to encourage additional testing, and they're joining forces with Poplar Bluff mom Cyrene Carringer to spread the word in the Heartland.

Sam Grossman with Neo-Gen Screenings says, "That law essentially required for Missouri to require more newborn screenings for every newborn infant." But that law, passed and signed by Missouri Governor Bob Holden has not gone into effect yet, because of budget crunches and no funding. "The state of Missouri currently screens for five of these metabolic disorders, our lab screens for 30 disorders," Grossman says.

That's why Grossman is in the Heartland. He works with Neo-Gen out of Pittsburgh. He made the long trip to the Heartland to talk to pediatricians and hospitals about encouraging parents to have the additional tests done on their newborns.
 It's a mission Poplar Bluff resident Cyrene Carringer has been on for a while. Her daughter, Catarah was born with a metabolic disease, a type of her disorder can be caught by newborn screening tests. The only problem, there's no funding for the testing. So Carringer investigated found Neo-Gen and convinced Grossman to make the trip. "Our immediate hope is to get hospitals to come on to the program so every newborn gets newborn screening," Grossman says.

Neo-Gen screens for more than 40 disorders, the screening costs 25 dollars. Grossman is optimistic his trip to the Heartland will lead to more newborn testing. "Things are picking up," he says. "We have every intention to work with interested parents to make sure it happens."

The story on Neo-Gen and expanded newborn screenings will be on the CBS Evening News, Eye on America, next Monday and Tuesday, February 17th and 18th right after Heartland News at Five. We'll continue following Cyrene Carringer's push for expanded newborn screening in the Heartland.