S 974

Requires newborn infants be screened for spinal muscular atrophy.

NJEA supports S-974 (Singleton, Kean). This bill would require newborn infants to be screened for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Untreated and undiagnosed, SMA is a disease that has significant consequences, including the need for a ventilator, inability to walk, and death at an early age. However, SMA can be diagnosed through a blood test at birth. In fact, SMA was added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), the list of disorders that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services recommends for states to screen as part of their newborn screening program but has not been added to New Jersey’s list.

In spite of the fact that SMA is on RUSP, it is not part of New Jersey’s newborn screening program. Estimates show that in New Jersey, 9 babies are born with SMA every year. We should be testing them as part of our newborn screening program, for an early diagnosis and treatment can halt the progression of the disease.

NJEA supports S-974. It will result in early diagnosis of SMA and thus alleviate suffering of children and their families and allow children with SMA to become productive citizens.

Text of bill S-974


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