Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

A multi-source approach to determine SMA incidence and research ready population

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ingrid Verhaart, Agata Robertson, Becca LearyORCiD, Dr Grace McMacken, Professor Hanns Lochmuller



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 The Author(s) In spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), degeneration of motor neurons causes progressive muscular weakness, which is caused by homozygous deletion of the SMN1 gene. Available epidemiological data on SMA are scarce, often outdated, and limited to relatively small regions or populations. Combining data from different sources including genetic laboratories and patient registries may provide better insight of the disease epidemiology. To investigate the incidence of genetically confirmed SMA, and the number of patients who are able and approachable to participate in new clinical trials and observational research, we used both genetic laboratories, the TREAT-NMD Global SMA Patient Registry and the Care and Trial Sites Registry (CTSR). In Europe, 4653 patients were genetically diagnosed by the genetic laboratories in the 5-year period 2011 to 2015, with 992 diagnosed in 2015 alone. The data provide an estimated incidence of SMA in Europe of 1 in 3900–16,000 live births. Patient numbers in the national patient registries and CTSR were considerably lower. By far, most patients registered in the national patient registries and the CTSR live in Europe and are reported to have SMA type II. Considerable differences between countries in patient participation in the registries were observed. Our findings indicate that not all patients with SMA are accessed by specialist healthcare services and these patients may not have access to research opportunities and optimal care.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Verhaart IEC, Robertson A, Leary R, McMacken G, Konig K, Kirschner J, Jones CC, Cook SF, Lochmuller H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurology

Year: 2017

Volume: 264

Issue: 7

Pages: 1465-1473

Print publication date: 01/07/2017

Online publication date: 20/06/2017

Acceptance date: 13/06/2017

Date deposited: 10/07/2017

ISSN (print): 0340-5354

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1459

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


DOI: 10.1007/s00415-017-8549-1


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name