Two-day test can spot gene diseases in newborns

12:42 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - A new rapid way to decode the DNA of sick newborns may help doctors diagnose genetic diseases faster in their tiniest patients - in roughly two days instead of weeks. 

Gene-mapping currently takes so long, and is so expensive, that it's not part of routine medical care. But researchers at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., say a speedier method could shorten the anguished wait for a diagnosis for some newborns in intensive care. 

They combined a faster gene-analyzing machine with a computer program that uses a baby's symptoms to zero in on the most likely culprit. Wednesday, they reported using the faster test to help diagnose a handful of babies, and plan to begin more routine gene mapping of sick newborns by year's end.

The Associated Press

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