Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a group of hereditary diseases that progressively destroys motor neurons—nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control essential skeletal muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy. This fact sheet answers the following questions about SMA:
- What is spinal muscular atrophy?
- What causes SMA?
- How is it inherited?
- What are the types of SMA?
- How is SMA diagnosed?
- Are there treatments for SMA?
- What is the prognosis?
- What research is being done?
- Where can I get more information?
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