What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)?
SMA is a genetic neuromuscular condition that affects the motor neurons responsible for voluntary movement, causing muscle weakness and atrophy. As symptoms progress, SMA impacts the body’s ability to move, cough, swallow, and breathe. There are different types of SMA (I, II, III) diagnosed based on the onset and severity of symptoms. Infants with Type I are generally diagnosed before six months of age and rarely live past their second birthday. SMA Type II and Type III are typically identified in children at a later age (generally 6 months to 3+ years) and is not fatal.
Currently there is no treatment and no cure, but there is hope. The National Institute of Health (NIH) selected SMA as the neurologic disease closest to finding a cure, with an estimate of 2-5 years to find that cure.
- SMA is a neuromuscular disease which destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement
- SMA is the number one genetic killer of children under the age of 2
- 1 in 40 people are carriers of the gene that causes SMA
- 7.5 million Americans are carriers
- The child of two carriers has a 1 in 4 chance of developing SMA
- SMA affects approximately 1/6000 newborns in the US
- Currently there is no treatment or cure for SMA