What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is caused by a mutation in the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1). The SMN1 gene produces a protein that is critical to the function of nerves that control our muscles. Without this protein the nerve cells can not function properly, and eventually die. This leads to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness. Those with SMA have difficulty performing basic functions like breathing and swallowing. However SMA does not affect a person's ability to think, learn and build relationships with others.