Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Down Syndrome And Cleft Lip, Palate Most Prevalent Birth Defects

Date:
January 7, 2006
Source:
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
Summary:
Among 18 major birth defects included in this study, cleft lip and/or palate had the highest prevalence, followed by Down Syndrome, according to research that for the first time provides population-based estimates for the prevalence of specific birth defects nationwide. Previous estimates had indicated that 3 percent of all births are affected by a birth defect. However, this is the first time national estimates for specific defects, other than neural tube defects, have been calculated.

Cleft lip is a treatable birth defect, but for the families of the estimated 6,800 U.S. infants born with one, it's a heartbreaking experience -- not only because of the associated health problems, but because friends and family may ignore the condition or because of social stigma associated with facial defects.

Among the 18 major birth defects included in this study, cleft lip and/or palate had the highest prevalence, followed by Down Syndrome, according to research that for the first time provides population-based estimates for the prevalence of specific birth defects nationwide.

Among the selected cardiovascular defects studied, more than 6,500 infants were affected, however, this excludes many common types such as ventral septal defects.

The study results, published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), calculated national estimates for 18 specific major birth defects between 1999 and 2001. Previous estimates had indicated that 3 percent of all births are affected by a birth defect. However, this is the first time national population-based estimates for specific defects, other than neural tube defects, have been calculated.

"This study is an important step toward helping us understand the widespread impact that birth defects have on families across the United States," said study co-author Joann Petrini, Ph.D., director of the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center.

Parents of children with these conditions know how important this research is to their families and to addressing their health care and educational needs.

"No one was excited for us when Ethan was born," said Lori Gunther of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., whose son was born in 2002 with a cleft lip. Well-meaning friends avoided discussion of or dismissed the defect thinking it was "cosmetic" and could be easily fixed. But Ethan had eating problems because the cleft made it difficult for him to suck. He had three surgeries by the age of 1. After one surgery, he stopped breathing for a short time after his parents brought him home due to a blood clot.

"I don't think a lot of people realize this is a problem," said Lori Gunther. "It was horrible. The thought of possibly having to go through it again with another child was horrible." But last year, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl she and her husband named Katherine.

Because of his cleft palate and lip, Dakota Hitchcock "sounded like a little puppy" when he was born in 2002, said his grandmother, Lin Hitchcock of Oklahoma. "Your heart just broke and I just started praying," she said. Before he was 18 months old, Dakota had three surgeries. The second one allowed him to suck properly on a bottle. "I can still hear that sound," says Lin Hitchcock. "I wouldn't wish this on anybody, but I wouldn't give back the experience. It just makes us appreciate the little things in life."

The 18 major birth defects studied included certain cardiovascular system defects, as well as limb defects, defects of the intestine and bowel, the eye, and chromosomal defects, such as Down syndrome. These were selected for study because they are relatively common, can be identified after birth, and have severe consequences. Ten of the 18 defects affect more than 1,000 infants annually, according to the research titled, "Improved National Prevalence Estimates for 18 Selected Birth Defects -- United States, 1991-2001," and published in MMWR, Vol. 54, Nos. 51 and 52.

"This report demonstrates the importance of state birth defects surveillance programs and also the need for more research to identify the causes of many birth defects,'' said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.

Understanding the prevalence of birth defects, which are the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, is key to planning for national health care needs and for designing and targeting programs and research for prevention and treatment, the March of Dimes says.

###

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish language Web site at nacersano.org. For additional national, state, county and city level statistics related to perinatal health visits March of Dimes PeriStats at www.marchofdimes.com/peristats.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. "Down Syndrome And Cleft Lip, Palate Most Prevalent Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106130421.htm>.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. (2006, January 7). Down Syndrome And Cleft Lip, Palate Most Prevalent Birth Defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106130421.htm
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. "Down Syndrome And Cleft Lip, Palate Most Prevalent Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106130421.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins