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Published 9:10 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately one out of every 10,000 people are affected by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA is a potentially severe condition that can affect a baby’s ability to swallow, breathe, sit, and walk. The CDC notes that, without early treatment, SMA can result in premature death. Routine newborn screening using dried blood spots collected from a baby’s heel within the first 24 to 48 hours of birth is used to detect if a child has SMA. There are various types of SMA, and which type a child has will affect but not determine prognosis. And though the majority of SMA cases affect children at birth, the condition also can come on in adolescence or adulthood.

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