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The Food and Drug Administration has cleared a new blood test, the first of its kind, that can help diagnose mental disabilities in babies through their genetic code. The laboratory test detects variations in chromosomes hat are linked to Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome and other developmental disorders.
The test is known as the CytoScan Dx Assay and is designed to help doctors with diagnosis earlier than previously possible so that care and support (and parental planning) can begin earlier. The test is not approved for prenatal screening, nor does it predict genetically-acquired diseases and conditions.
Current tests for conditions like Down's syndrome are individual tests rather than blanket tests for disorders and are usually ordered one at a time, requiring multiple blood draws and days or weeks to develop. This new test for pediatricians allows several known syndromes to be tested for at once and results are faster.
Although parents could sometimes request the testing, it is normally only conducted after other signs of possible disability have been noted.
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