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E-M:/ Birth defects report gives Michigan a C for birth defectmonitoring

Title: Birth defects report gives Michigan a C for birth defe
Birth defect monitoring is critical as an early warning system
which can signal problems in the environment or otherwise
that need intervention. 
Below find a clip from an AP story, and a brief piece on
Michigan's birth defect monitoring.


Associated Press Writer

Associated Press Newswires
Copyright 2002. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Only eight states are doing an excellent job of
tracking birth defects, the leading cause of death among infants in the
United States, a study concluded Wednesday.

The report shows "we lack the most basic tool for preventing birth
defects - information," said Shelley Hearne, executive director of the
Trust for America's Health, a Washington-based nonprofit organization
that published the report. "Without knowing the causes of birth defects,
we are helpless to prevent them."
Birth defects are the leading cause of death among infants in the United
States. According to the March of Dimes, 150,000 babies are born in the
United States each year with birth defects - one out of every 28
But many states lack the monitoring mechanisms to provide any insight to
the problem, the report says.
Active state monitoring programs and registries could provide
researchers much-needed information about the rates of birth defects and
help identify trends, advocates argue.
The report examined programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia
and Puerto Rico.
Only eight states received an "A" grade - Arkansas, California, Georgia,
Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Texas - meaning all eight have
active surveillance and ways to collect and verify data. But even those
states aren't considered perfect. Two do not publish data in a timely
manner and two do not cover births in the entire state, researchers

And from the report:  Does Michigan Make The Grade?

          Michigan Birth Defects Tracking

          The mission of Michigan's birth defects program is
          (1) to collect and provide accurate information on
          birth defects incidence and mortality in Michigan
          and to determine and distribute birth defects
          incidence and mortality rates and trends; (2) to
          provide data for use in development, targeting and
          monitoring of programs intended to prevent birth
          defects or to respond to needs resulting from the
          occurrence of birth defects; (3) to monitor for
          potential and to investigate suspected birth defects
          clusters and to utilize these data to investigate
          research questions on the causes, the prevention,
          the cost and the control of the consequences of
          birth defects; and (4) to identify children with birth
          defects, to facilitate the assessment and referral
          needs of these children and to otherwise assist
          targeted service programs in program
          administration, case finding and evaluation.

          Michigan's program has passive ascertainment of
          all major structural birth defects and other adverse
          birth outcomes in babies from birth to age two
          years. The population-based program collects
          cases from the entire state but only from live births.
          The program offers birth defects prevention and
          education programs and intervention (follow-up)
          services. Michigan's program also conducts
          epidemiologic (prevention) research and studies to
          investigate the potential link between

          The grade is based on a new report, Birth Defects
          Tracking and Prevention: Too Many States Are Not
          Making the Grade, by Trust for America's Health.

On the Net:
For the full report and individual state breakdowns:

March of Dimes: http://www.modimes.org/