Neonatal health testing from Randox: keeping your baby healthy now and into the future
Most newborns enter the world healthy. But sometimes, infants develop conditions that require medical tests and treatment. Newborns are particularly at risk for some diseases, and in particular infections, because their immune systems aren’t developed enough to fight bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
At Randox we offer a number of accurate and reliable tests capable of detecting illnesses in newborn babies, enabling early medical intervention to allow for the best possible outcome for the baby.
Testing for Jaundice with Randox Bilirubin
In the routine care of newborns, a test for bilirubin is commonly conducted.
Bilirubin is formed by the breakdown of haemoglobin in the spleen, liver and bone marrow. It travels to the liver where it is secreted into the bile ducts as bile, and stored in the gallbladder where it is later released into the small intestines for digestion.
Increased levels of bilirubin within the body are associated with a condition called jaundice, which occurs in toxic or infectious diseases of the liver. The most common symptom of jaundice is a yellow pigmentation of the skin.
Elevated levels of bilirubin may also arise as a result of an obstruction in the bile duct or gall bladder, as a result of haemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells), or by the liver not actively treating the haemoglobin it is receiving.
Therefore the Randox Bilirubin test is essential in the screening, monitoring and diagnosis of hepatic (liver function) disorders and jaundice in newborn babies.
Neonatal jaundice, otherwise known as hyperbilirubinemia, is extremely common in babies, because nearly every newborn develops a somewhat elevated bilirubin level during the first week of life.
Side effects may include excess sleepiness or poor feeding, but in some more extreme cases babies may experience seizures, cerebral palsy, delayed intellectual development, or physical abnormalities.
Early and accurate detection is therefore extremely important – making bilirubin testing fundamental. To ensure the precision of the bilirubin tests conducted in paediatric testing, Randox also offers Acusera Bilirubin Elevated Quality Control.
Monitoring the destruction of red blood cells with Randox G-6-PDH
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH) is an enzyme located on the X-chromosome, and so is found in every bodily cell as soon as a baby is born.
G-6-PDH is involved in the normal processing of carbohydrates and plays a critical role in red blood cells, protecting them from damage and destruction. Depleted levels of G-6-PDH can therefore cause red blood cells to become particularly vulnerable to haemolysis. G-6-PDH deficiency, which causes rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, excess tiredness, and mild to severe jaundice in new-borns, affects more than 400 million people globally.
During a baby’s new-born screening, a test for the G-6-PDH enzyme will be conducted to check for this deficiency disorder. Early diagnosis is imperative, as untreated haemolysis can result in haemolytic anaemia.
Genetic Disease Screening with Randox Copper
Copper is an essential mineral in human nutrition, and is mainly found in the brain, liver, kidneys, heart and skeletal muscle.
It aids in some of the key bodily functions including the production of red blood cells, the maintenance of nerve cells and the immune system, and the formation of bone and connective tissue. A deficiency in this mineral can therefore result in bone abnormalities or fractures in premature babies.
Copper deficiency can also be caused by an inherited disorder called Menkes Disease. Affecting approximately 1 in 100,000 children worldwide, this condition is characterised by sparse, kinky hair; failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate, and deterioration of the nervous system.
The first signs of Menkes Disease – curly, sparse, coarse, dull, and discoloured hair – usually first develop at 2-3 months of age and therefore monitoring copper levels in babies is a way to catch this rare condition at the earliest possible opportunity.
Testing for Lupus with Randox Complement C4 and Complement C3
Another condition which can affect newborn babies is neonatal lupus, which occurs when the mother’s antibodies affect the foetus. A rare condition, it is an autoimmune disease caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues and organs.
The Complement C4 and Complement C3 proteins, which play an important role in eliminating certain infections, can be used as biomarkers in the diagnosis and monitoring of lupus. Complement C4 deficiency is commonly associated with lupus, as the protein is required to clear damaged cells, promote inflammation, and attack pathogens.
Although there is no cure for lupus at present, the condition is very treatable and usually responds well to a number of different types of medication – especially when treatment is started in the early stages of the disease.
Early diagnosis is therefore imperative, and the Randox Complement C4 and Complement C3 tests can help to diagnose babies with lupus at the earliest possible stage. Randox also offer Acusera Immunology controls.
Monitoring a baby’s anti-infection defences with Randox IgA
IgA (immunoglobulin A) is an antibody present in the cells of the immune system, and plays a crucial role in the immune function of mucous membranes including tears, saliva, and sweat. It is also present in colostrum, often referred to as ‘liquid gold’, which is the first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth.
It’s the IgA in colostrum and milk that is important in neonatal protection against infection and it is therefore imperative to monitor the levels of this antibody to make sure your baby is receiving the anti-infection defences he or she requires.
Testing for allergic reactions with Randox IgE
IgE (immunoglobulin E) is an antibody released by the immune system as a defence mechanism when it believes the body is at risk. IgE determinations are therefore used as an aid in the diagnosis of allergic diseases.
In babies, an allergen-specific IgE test may be done to look for some kinds of allergies, including food, animal dander, pollen, mould, medicine, dust mites, or insect venom.
Increased concentrations of IgE will confirm that an allergic response has occurred, facilitating further investigation as to the specific allergy present.
Testing for bacterial infection with Randox CRP
C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein found in blood plasma and produced by the liver. The concentration levels of CRP increase in response to cytokines which are produced by white blood cells during inflammation, infection and tissue injury.
Testing for this protein can therefore be used in the detection of bacterial infections in neonates – enabling antibiotic prescription and a speedy recovery. If infection is identified, CRP can also be used to monitor treatment response or identify neonatal septicaemia.
Randox is committed to saving and improving lives – at any age and any stage of life.
Our innovative diagnostic technologies are versatile and easily adapted for use in the paediatric setting – keeping your baby healthy now and into the future.