Newborn Dried Blood Spot Screening (NBS) is a public health service that screens newborns for specific disorders. Originally designed by Robert Guthrie in 1963 to test for phenylketonuria, NBS now screens from 6 to 50 different metabolic, genetic and endocrine disorders.
Blood samples are obtained from a heel-stick during the first few days after birth and sent (typically) to the state health department to be analyzed. If the results are abnormal, the primary care physician is notified and further tests are recommended. The testing, storage and use of NBS (and information associated with each sample) are topics of great interest and relevance in bioethics.
Specifically, four main issues are of high interest in academic literature:
- Public/Clinical Attitudes
- Retention and Future Use of Samples
- Advanced Genomic Testing
General information about Newborn Dried Blood Spot Screening are available through the NIH and other organizations.