Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. It is caused by a loss of anterior horn cells (spinal motor neurons). Messages from the nerve cells in the brain (called upper motor neurons) are transmitted to nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord (called lower motor neurons) and from them to specific muscles. Upper motor neurons instruct the lower motor neurons to produce movements in the arms, legs, chest, face, throat and tongue. This loss of spinal motor neurons means that there is a lack of nerve signal from the spinal motor neurons to bunches of muscle fibres. Having no nerve signal causes these groups of muscle fibres to waste away (atrophy) which leads to weakness of muscles used for activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movement. For more information about Spinal muscular atrophy click here

Click here for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Standards of Care 2010

Click here for the Families of SMA's Breathing Basics - Respiratory care for children with SMA   

Vaccination Recommendations

Click here to be taken to the vaccination page.

Support Groups

Check out the support groups page to see what is available in your area.

Useful websites 

USA - www.smafoundation.org

Families of SMA USA - www.fsma.org/

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Research News - www.spinalmuscularatrophy.info/