This month, we are striving to bring awareness to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a serious inherited condition caused by changes in the SMN1 gene, which controls motor neurons in the spinal cord and brainstem. 


  • 1 in 50 Americans is a carrier for SMA
  • SMA is the #1 genetic cause of death for children under the age of two
  • SMA affects families of all ethnicities
  • Most people who are carriers have no family history of the disease

Emily and Ethan Bessey didn’t know anything about SMA when their son Ezra was diagnosed at just four months old.  Now, the Besseys are advocates for carrier screening as well as SMA awareness and research.  Their story has been featured by blogger Danielle Davis of the Today’s the Best Day blog.  



The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that carrier screening for cystic fibrosis and SMA to be offered to all women who are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant. 

At Myriad Women’s Health, we believe carrier screening for serious conditions like SMA is an essential part of preconception or prenatal care.  We strive to integrate screening into medical practices so that patients can get the best care possible.


Muscular atrophy pateint image 

Learn more about the Bessey’s story as well as SMA on 

Myriad Genetics at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Paul J. Diaz, president and chief executive officer, Bryan Riggsbee, chief financial officer, and Dale Muzzey, chief scientific officer, presented at the 41st annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare Conference.