Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. Spinal Muscular Atrophy is caused by a loss of specialized nerve cells, called motor neurons, in the spinal cord and the part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord. As a result, the loss of motor neurons leads to weakness and wasting of muscles used for activities such as walking, sitting and controlling head movement. The signs of Spinal Muscular Atrophy include muscle weakness, tremor, twitching, breathing problems, and many more.
HOW IS SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY DIAGNOSED?
A diagnosis usually comes only after the child undergoes several tests that rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms. These tests usually include:
• nerve conduction tests, such as an electromyogram (EMG)
• computed tomography (CT) scan
• magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• muscle tissue biopsy
HOW IS SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY TREATED?
There is no pharmacological treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, only symptomatic care can be provided. Orthopedic surgery to correct the spine may be performed on children above the age of 10. Orthotic devices can be used for supporting mobility. Respiratory care is provided through ventilator
DID YOU KNOW?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy runs in families, parents may not have symptoms but carry the genes.