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Neuromuscular diseases represent an heterogenous group of more than 400 diseases, with a very broad phenotypic spectrum. Given their rarity and complexity, neuromuscular diseases are often diagnosed with a very significant delay after which irreversible muscle damage may limit the efficacy of treatments when available. In this context, neonatal screening could constitute a solution for early detection and treatment. A systematic review of the literature in PubMed up to May 1, 2021, was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines, including classical neuromuscular diseases and diseases with a clear peripheral nervous system involvement (including central nervous system disease with severe neuropathy). We found seven diseases for which newborn screening data were reported: spinal muscular atrophy (9), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (9), Pompe disease (8), X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (5), Krabbe disease (4), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (1), metachromatic leukodystrophy (1). The future of newborn screening for neuromuscular disorders pass through a global technological switch, from a biochemical to a genetic-based approach. The rapid development of therapy also requires the possibility to quickly adapt the list of treated conditions, to allow innovative therapies to achieve their best efficacy.

Original publication




Journal article


Neuromuscul Disord

Publication Date



Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Neuromuscular disorder, Newborn screening, Pompe disease, Spinal muscular atrophy