Cystic fibrosis screening added to tests done on Alaska babies

Posted: Thursday, February 01, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Starting today, babies in Alaska will be tested shortly after birth for cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that attacks the lungs and intestines and can lead to an early death.

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There's no known cure for the disease, but health officials and doctors hope testing all babies will return earlier diagnoses and improve the diet and development of affected children.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation says drug treatments, therapies and a special diet can lengthen and improve life for someone with cystic fibrosis. These can be started earlier if a child is diagnosed earlier.

Typically, parents receive the diagnosis when their child is between 6 months and 3 years old, said Dr. Dion Roberts, a local doctor who treats children with lung disorders. The new state program will return a diagnosis during the first few weeks of life.

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