September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month; Swanson discusses SMA newborn screening efforts

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month. Illinois Newborn Screening helps find babies with certain rare disorders so they can get needed treatment as soon as possible. Learn more at…/life…/newborn-screening.

Rep. Dan Swanson helped passed a bill in the 100th General Assembly requiring the Illinois Department of Public Health provide all newborns with screening tests for the presence of spinal muscular atrophy.

“Spinal muscular atrophy is a neuromuscular disease in which patients can lose the ability to walk, eat, and breathe,” said Rep. Dan Swanson, Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.  “SMA can be treated, but to be most effective it must be detected early.  Adding this screening to the newborn panel should help drive down this leading genetic cause of death for babies.”

The bill amended the Newborn Metabolic Screening Act to add the new screening test by 2020 to a panel of tests that now includes screening for a number of disorders, deficiencies, and diseases prevalent with newborns.  Newborn screenings began in Illinois in 1965.  Each year, more than 700 babies are diagnosed through newborn screening, according to the Department of Public Health.

August was SMA Awareness Month in Illinois, as well, and Rep. Swanson joined the Parlier Family on WGIL Radio to talk more about their legislative efforts and the impact on families like the Parliers. A link to the interview is available at: