DNA tests for newborns to check for diseases are already mandated across the U.S., but a new study at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital called “BabySeq” is taking it a step further.
This landmark genetic scan screens newborns for around 1,800 diseases including breast cancer and genetic mutations that produce sudden cardiac death — which leads to another main component of the study: parents that choose to know these results.
The National Institutes of Health funds the BabySeq study at about $25 million. The initial round of results from the study, will help doctors determine how to use the testing in the future, and also measure the psychological and economic impact these results might have on the parents and newborns that receive this information.
After babies are born, researchers from the project go into delivery rooms to get parents on board, but so far they’ve had trouble getting them to participate. BabySeq says that 9 out of 10 parents they asked denied doing the test.
VICE News found one family that did, and followed them on the day of their test results for their newborn son, Bo.
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