Landscape Analysis of Neurodevelopmental Comorbidities in Newborn Screening Conditions: Challenges and Opportunities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International journal of neonatal screening








common data elements; neurodevelopmental disorders; newborn screening


Newborn screening (NBS) is a large-scale public health program in the US that screens 3.8 million newborns for up to 81 genetic conditions each year. Many of these conditions have comorbidities, including neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). These comorbidities can have a significant impact on health outcomes across the lifespan. Most screened conditions are inborn errors of metabolism. PKU, the first condition identified by NBS, is an inherited metabolic disorder that can cause developmental delays and intellectual/developmental disabilities if not treated. The Newborn Screening Translational Research Network (NBSTRN) is a program that has been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development since 2008. NBSTRN is charged with developing, maintaining, and enhancing tools, resources, and expertise supporting NBS research. One of the tasks led by NBSTRN is to provide direction for developing question/answer sets used in the Longitudinal Pediatric Data Resource (LPDR) to create consensus-based and standardized common data elements (CDEs) for NBS conditions. There is growing interest in the NBS community in assessing neurodevelopmental trajectories through long-term follow-up studies. This could be streamlined by employing uniform CDEs. To address this unmet need, we conducted a landscape analysis to (1) explore the co-occurrence of NDD-related comorbidities and NBS conditions using text mining in MedGen, (2) compile a list of NDD-related CDEs from existing repositories as well as LPDR data dictionaries, and (3) identify challenges and knowledge gaps hindering the early identification of risks for NDDs in NBS conditions. Our findings can inform future efforts toward advancing the research infrastructure for this established public health program. The renewed awareness of the risk of NDDs after a positive NBS and diagnosis could lead to improved treatment guidelines for mental health conditions.


Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine