Illinois Department of Public Health expands newborn screening

Spinal Muscular Atrophy added as the 49th disorder

Posted 6/26/20

SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health will test every baby born in Illinois for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  SMA is a group of hereditary diseases that progressively destroys motor neurons—nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control essential activities such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy.  When there are disruptions in the signals between motor neurons and muscles, the muscles gradually weaken and begin wasting away.

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