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About SMA / What is SMA?

What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is the number 1 genetic killer of children under 2 years of age. It can strike a person anytime throughout their life - infant, toddler, teen or adult.

It is a group of inherited and sometimes fatal diseases that destroy the nerve cells (motor neurons) controlling voluntary movement, such as, crawling, walking, head and neck control, as well as swallowing and breathing. It affects the anterior horn cells located in the spine.

Facts About SMA

  • 1 in 40 people are carriers of the SMA gene.
  • 1 in every 6,000 live births is affected.
  • Over 25,000 people in the USA have SMA
  • SMA does not discriminate when it comes to sex, age, race or ethnic background.
  • Both parents must carry the SMA gene.
  • There is a 1 in 4 chance of having a child with SMA.
  • There is a 50% chance of having a child who carries the gene.

There are 4 types of SMA:

  • TYPE 1 (WERDNIG-HOFFMAN): Infantile; Most Fatal
  • TYPE 2: Strikes between 9 - 18 months
  • TYPE 3 & 4: Can strike at any time between 18 months to teen years to adult years

More Information

For more detailed information on SMA as well a place for support, go to SMA Support.

To search for information or support for other rare diseases (if you are not yet sure of a diagnosis, or the diagnosis does not match SMA) go to Madison's Foundation.