Epidemiology of neuromuscular disorders in the under-20 population in Bologna province, Italy

Luciano Merlini, Silvia Bonfiglioli Stagni, Elena Marri, Claudia Granata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A retrospective epidemiological survey of the principal neuromuscular disorders was undertaken in the population under the age of 20 yr in Bologna city and province. The incidence of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) proved to be 25.8 × 10-5, that is, comparable with the outcome of neonatal screening studies. The incidence of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was very high (11.2 × 10-5), probably the result of our greater awareness and recognition of this disorder. The prevalence of neuromuscular disorders in the 0-19 yr population is 1.5 times that in the general population; that of DMD is 28 × 10-5 vs 6.3 × 10-5 and that of the SMA 6.5 × 10-5 vs 1.2 × 10-5. Our results indicate that neuromuscular disorders, particularly DMD and SMA I and II, have a much higher prevalence in the first two decades of life than is generally thought. Awareness of the higher prevalence of neuromuscular disorders among the under-20s is essential to the adequate planning of medical services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Epidemiology
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • spinal muscular atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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