Texas DSHS

Texas Newborns Now Screened For Rare Spinal Genetic Disorder

Screening to begin June 1, detects about 95% of all spinal muscular atrophy

A mother holds a newborn baby.

Babies born in Texas will now be screened for spinal muscular atrophy, a condition affecting about 1 out of every 10,000 newborns.

As of June 1, the screening is being added to every screening done for every baby born in the state, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

According to Texas DSHS, spinal muscular atrophy is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.

The new screening detects about 95% of all spinal muscular atrophy.

"Screening all Texas babies for spinal muscular atrophy will help identify more than 40 cases a year," said DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD in a press release. "Early detection will enable people with SMA to get life-changing treatment before symptoms develop."

Severe cases of spinal muscular atrophy can affect muscles used for breathing and swallowing and possibly lead to early death.

You can find out more about the screening, including an expected fee increase in January 2022, here at the Texas DSHS website.

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