“It could be possible to reverse the muscle damage seen in children with a form of motor neurone disease,” according to BBC News. The condition in question – spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) – causes deterioration of specific nerves and muscles in the body, and is sometimes known as ‘floppy baby syndrome’ due to the weakness it creates in the limbs. The condition reportedly affects 1 in 6,000 babies, with around half of children with the most severe form of this disease dying before the age of two.
Research has already established that the condition affects the nerves, and it has previously been thought that the muscles waste mainly as a result of this nerve damage. However, this news is based on an experiment in mice that suggests the muscles start to undergo changes even before the nerves deteriorate. Crucially, some of these changes could be reversed using a drug called SAHA, which has also been found to increase lifespan in SMA mice in a previous study.