State Senator Julie Morrison testifying on the Senate floor

SPRINGFIELD – Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – also known as DMD – is a rare disorder, but severe if not caught early enough to be treated. State Senator Julie Morrison passed a measure through the Senate to require all newborns to be screened for DMD.

“Although rare, DMD is a devastating disease –tragically taking young children from their parents,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “Early diagnoses of DMD will save precious lives and restore hope.”

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disorder caused by a change in the dystrophin gene affecting 1 in 3,500 boys each year worldwide. It’s characterized by the progressive loss of muscle, which results in deterioration of the skeletal heart, and lung muscles. Because the dystrophin gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects males, while females are typically carriers.

 By the time the symptoms of DMD are detected, it is typically too late to treat. Additionally, it takes 2.5 years on average to diagnose after caregivers first notice symptoms – giving children little to no time to receive help.

Senate Bill 2658 would require each newborn to be screened for the disease. This will increase the rates of early detection, giving those diagnosed the ability to receive affective treatment, far earlier than they would have otherwise.

“I have worked closely with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy on this legislation,” said Morrison. “Requiring that every newborn is screened for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will save lives.”

Senate Bill 2658 passed the Senate Friday and moves to the House for further consideration.