Feasibility of identifying families for genetic studies of birth defects using the National Health Interview Survey

Wyszynski, Diego F.; Nolan, Vikki G.
January 2004
BMC Public Health;2004, Vol. 4, p16
Academic Journal
Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the National Health Interview Survey is a useful source to identify informative families for genetic studies of birth defects. Methods: The 1994/1995 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was used to identify households where individuals with two or more birth defects reside. Four groups of households were identified: 1) single non-familial (one individual with one birth defect); 2) single familial (more than one individual with one birth defect); 3) multiple non-familial (one individual with more than one birth defect), and 4) multiple familial (more than one individual with more than one birth defect). The March 2000 U.S. Census on households was used to estimate the total number of households in which there are individuals with birth defects. Results: Of a total of 28,094 households and surveyed about birth defects and impairments, 1,083 single non-familial, 55 multiple non-familial, 54 single familial, and 8 multiple familial households were identified. Based on the 2000 U.S. census, it is estimated that there are 4,472,385 households where at least one person has one birth defect in the United States and in 234,846 of them there are at least two affected individuals. Western states had the highest prevalence rates. Conclusions: Population-based methods, such as the NHIS, are modestly useful to identify the number and the regions where candidate families for genetic studies of birth defects reside. Clinic based studies and birth defects surveillance systems that collect family history offer better probability of ascertainment.


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