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Recommended tests

The amount and types of disorders for which babies are screened differ by state.

Texas' stir to enlarge show puts it more in line with recommendations of the American College of Medical Genetics.

Two tests -- for hearing loss and cystic fibrosis - are suggested by the group but not conducted as fraction of custom newborn screening in Texas.

Every screening kit costs $29.50, compared with $19.50 last year. That is enclosed by insurance for patients who have it, and the state seeks Medicaid reimbursement for those who do not. To cover up start-up costs, the government in 2005 appropriated $3.1 million.

In the long run, it may be cheaper to identify such situation in the early hours than to care for children with organ or brain damage later in life, several doctors said.

"The cost savings, just purely financial, are there," Northrup said. "Then, of course, there's (avoiding) the psychological and emotional burden for the family."

One problem to prolonged screening is the nervousness it can grounds for parents. The tests effect in an important number of false positives and sometimes indicate minor deficiencies that don't require treatment.



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