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August 31, 1963

Screening Programs for Phenylketonuria in the Newborn

JAMA. 1963;185(9):733. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060090065029

To the Editor:—  It occurred to me that a preliminary published note regarding the 10-month experience of Massachusetts in the nation-wide phenylketonuria (PKU) newborn screening project might be of value to physicians and health officers of other states.In the nation-wide program sponsored by the Children's Bureau, using the Guthrie bacterial inhibition assay on heel blood,1 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health went far beyond the quota assigned to the state, and in mid-July, 1962, offered the program to all maternity hospitals in the state. With three cases discovered within the first 4 months of the program, participation grew rapidly, and by midwinter all maternity hospitals in the state, including the military hospitals with obstetrical services, were enrolled.In the large number of newborn babies tested to date, the filter-paper blood screening test has worked very well. We have not been unduly troubled with false-positive reactions, and the test

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