Neurological assessment of newborns with spinal muscular atrophy identified through neonatal screening

Marika Pane, Maria Alice Donati, Costanza Cutrona, Roberto De Sanctis, Matteo Pirinu, Giorgia Coratti, Martina Ricci, Concetta Palermo, Beatrice Berti, Daniela Leone, Chiara Ticci, Michele Sacchini, Margherita Cerboneschi, Anna Capasso, Gianpaolo Cicala, Maria Carmela Pera, Chiara Bravetti, Emanuela Abiusi, Alessandro Vaisfeld, Giovanni VentoFrancesco Danilo Tiziano, Eugenio Maria Mercuri

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The possibility to identify patients with spinal muscular atrophy through neonatal screenings has highlighted the need for clinical assessments that may systematically evaluate the possible presence of early neurological signs. The aim of this study was to use the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (HNNE) and a module specifically designed for floppy infants to assess the possible variability of neurological findings in infants identified through neonatal screening. The infants included in this study were identified as part of a pilot study exploring neonatal screening in two Italian regions. A neurological examination was performed using the HNNE and an additional module developed for the assessment of floppy infants. Seventeen infants were identified through the screening. One patient had 1 SMN2 copy, 9 had 2 copies, 3 had 3, and 4 had more than 3 copies. Nine of the 17 infants (53%) had completely normal results on both scales, 3 had minimal signs, and the other 5 had more obvious clinical signs. The number of SMN2 copies was related to the presence of abnormal neurological signs (p = 0.036) but two SMN2 copies were associated with variable clinical signs as they were found in some infants with respectively normal examination or obvious severe early signs. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the combination of both scales increases the possibility to detect neonatal neurological signs and to define different early patterns of involvement also identifying paucisymptomatic patients.What is Known:• The use of new therapeutic options in presymptomatic SMA patients leads to a dramatic reduction of the onset and severity of the diesease.• The already existing tools commonly used in Type I SMA (HINE and CHOP-intend) may not be suitable to identify minor neurological signs in the neonatal period.What is New:• Combining the HNNE and the floppy infant module, we were able to identify early neurological signs in SMA infants identified through newborn screening and may help to predict the individual therapeutic outcome of these patients.• Iinfants with 2 SMN2 copies identified through the screening had a more variable neonatal examination compared to those with three or more copies, in agreement with similar findings in older infants.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)2821-2829
Numero di pagine9
RivistaEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Aged
  • Assessment
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal
  • Neonatal
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pilot Projects
  • SMA
  • Screening


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