Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Is CMT?

CMT - Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder (named for the three physicians who discovered it in 1886) is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy.  It affects over 2 million persons worldwide and is found in both males and females and all ethnic groups.  It is a disease of the nerves that control muscles (unlike Muscular Dystrophy which is a disease of the muscles themselves).  It is slowly progressive and causes loss of normal function and/or sensation in the lower legs/feet as well as hands/arms.  It is not usually fatal or known to affect life expectancy but can become severely disabling.

Why do I write about CMT?  At age 13, my youngest daughter was discovered to have some kind of neurological problem.  It was not until she was 25, however, that the diagnosis was confirmed by her primary physician.  She now wears leg braces to assist her in walking and recently had to begin using braces for her wrists because of the degeneration of the nerves in her arms and hands.  She can no longer work in her chosen occupation - teaching (for which she obtained two master's degrees).  She has a very upbeat personality but there is no doubt that the disability has affected her overall well-being.

This week (September 19-25, 2010) has been designated as National CMT Awareness Week.  It is hoped that through more awareness of the disorder funds can be raised to assist in research to find effective treatments for the disorder.  If you wish further information about CMT, you may contact the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association at 2700 Chestnut Street, Chester PA 19013 or visiting online at

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