NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut News

New Spinal Muscular Atrophy Screening For Connecticut Infants

Michael Conroy

Connecticut’s public health laboratory has begun screening newborn babies for a genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy.

Spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, is a neurodegenerative disorder in which the loss of motor neurons leads to progressive muscle weakening and wasting. In some cases it can be fatal. It affects about one in 11,000 people in Connecticut. And it comes from a genetic defect that’s inherited from parents at birth.

The Department of Public Health will screen newborns for SMA under a state law passed year. The state’s public health commissioner called the move a huge step forward for Connecticut, and said it’ll give medical providers a chance to recommend families the best plan of care.