The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Iowa Newborn Screening Program, in partnership with the North Dakota Newborn Screening Program, today begins a pilot to screen all newborns for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
SMA is an inherited neurological condition that leads to progressive muscle weakness. Without treatment, the infantile form of SMA typically leads to death in the first two years of life. Untreated later-onset forms of SMA lead to physical disability due to increasing muscle weakness. It’s estimated that nationally, 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are born with SMA.
The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa will perform screening for SMA on all newborn screening specimens submitted to the Iowa Newborn Screening Program. If a baby’s screen is abnormal for SMA, the Iowa Newborn Screening Program will contact the baby’s primary care provider with further recommendations.
The Iowa Newborn Screening Program currently screens for over 40 inherited disorders including blood spot screening, hearing screening and critical congenital heart disease screening.