THE American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes the continuing impact of medical research on the care of infants and children and assumes responsibility for conveying newly acquired scientific knowledge to pediatricians to improve child care. The Academy encourages the passage of wise legislation, advises government and industry of health needs, and develops programs for improving the health care of infants and children. Out of these concerns for dissemination of information and advice on programs. the Academy believes a further statement on the compulsory testing of newborn infants for hereditary metabolic disorders is appropriate.
The rapid progress of scientific research makes available an ever increasing number of potentially useful diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. New and complex information is often disseminated to the general public in an oven-simplified manner by the mass media. As a result, there is often pressure to move with a sense of urgency when a new laboratory observation may have therapeutic benefits. Recognition of the reality of such pressure relieves neither the scientist nor the physician from responsibility to guide the translation of scientific observations into public policy.
New awareness of the molecular nature of hereditary metabolic disease, and the realization that medicine can use this knowledge to benefit the patient, may change the prognosis for these diseases. This spirit of optimism has prompted several legislative actions designed to benefit those affected. Statutes have been formulated in either permissive or compulsory terms to promote widespread screening programs for the early detection of certain heritable metabolic diseases. Legislative activity in this area is now almost nationwide.
- Copyright © 1967 by the American Academy of Pediatrics