Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Researchers Exploring Disability Perceptions

Researchers at the Psychology of Disability Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are exploring the social identity of people with disabilities through a short, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire.

The lab's Disability Identity Project is being headed by principal investigator Adena Rottenstein, a doctoral candidate in psychology.

The study closes the week of Aug. 22, 2011.

Friends with SMA Inspire Scouts to Create Wheelchair Device

Ten-year-old Quinn Schnitzlein has been using a power chair since he was 3, so he’s a pretty good driver. But the boy from Marietta, Ga., who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), often bumped into things when he backed up.

One day last year, Quinn and some friends were at a fast-food restaurant. “We were at different tables,” Quinn says, “and when I’d try to turn around to talk to them, I kept hitting things.”

FDA Approves Phase 1 Clinical Trial of RG3039 in SMA

In a historic first, biotech company Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a phase 1 clinical trial of the experimental drug RG3039 for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Research Briefs: BMD, DMD, EDMD, FA, LGMD, OPMD, Pompe disease, SMA

Idebenone may help maintain respiratory function in DMD

Santhera Pharmaceuticals announced May 9, 2011, that its drug Catena (generic name idebenone) appears to slow the decline in respiratory function associated with aging in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Idebenone may improve energy production in muscle and nerve cells.

AAN Research Briefs on DM, DMD, LGMD, MG, MMD, SMA

Below are brief reports and links to more information about neuromuscular disease research presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), held in Honolulu April 9-16, 2011.

Scholarships, Grants Available to People with Disabilities

(Update 9/14/11: The 2011 scholarship winners have been selected. To view a list of winners visit www.deshae.org/cmms/awards/2011/scholars.pdf. Applications for quality of life grants continue to be accepted and are awarded on an ongoing basis.)

MDA Conference Brings Together Researchers, Clinicians, Industry

Moving therapeutic strategies from the laboratory to clinical trials and ultimately to the market as treatments was the theme of the MDA National Scientific Conference held March 13-16, 2011, in Las Vegas.

Some 300 people attended the conference, the first in a planned series of such MDA-sponsored meetings that will emphasize new research and current medical care. The majority of presenters and many of the audience members were current or former MDA research grantees or physicians at MDA-supported clinics.

'Antisense' Ameliorates SMA Symptoms in Mice

A team of research scientists has found that mice with a disease resembling a severe form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) that were treated with a gene-modifying molecule produced more of a needed protein throughout their spinal cords; developed bigger, stronger muscles; and survived longer than expected. 

MDA Awards $13.5 Million in Research Grants

The Muscular Dystrophy Association has awarded 44 grants totaling $13.5 million to support research efforts aimed at advancing understanding of disease processes and uncovering new strategies for treatments and cures of muscular dystrophy and the more than 40 other diseases in the Association’s program.

The new grants were reviewed by MDA’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Committees, and approved by MDA’s Board of Directors at its December meeting.

Ex-Con with SMA Now Mentors Children of Inmates

For eight long years, Terrence Stevens — who goes by the nickname "T-Wheels" — had the dubious distinction of being the only inmate in the New York state prison system with “muscular dystrophy.”

Stevens actually has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3, but he says no one in prison knew or cared what his true diagnosis was.

Conditions were horrible for inmates with disabilities, says Stevens, 43, who is nonambulatory and has only limited use of his hands.

Pages