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PHE: Screening newborns for muscle wasting condition not recommended

29th November 2016

Newborn babies should not be screened for the muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, according to the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) . The current test available for the condition incorrectly identifies some babies as having the condition and misses others who go on to develop the disease.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited condition which causes muscles to weaken. This gets worse over time and leads to increasing levels of disability. It is caused by faults in the genes responsible for muscle development and mainly affects boys. The symptoms may be noticed when a child has difficulty standing up, climbing or running. Between 100 to 200 boys with the condition are born in the UK each year.