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Local resident working to inform public about CMT

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 30, 2003
Gene Vance is speaking out to inform people of a disease with a funny name, but serious consequences.
Vance, of Meridian, has Charcot Marie Tooth disease, better known as CMT.
September is CMT Disease Awareness Month.
CMT is an inherited neurological disorder affecting mostly peripheral nerves and connecting muscles. There is no known cure or treatment to arrest levels or rates of progression.
Physical challenges Vance copes with are excessive fatigue, muscle atrophy, balance and sensation loss in the feet, legs, arms and hands.
Vance wants others to know there is support available for those who have CMT.
CMT causes weakness because nerve signals are impaired before they reach the muscle. Over time the impairment leads to muscle atrophy, or a loss of muscle strength.
Vance first experienced symptoms at the age of 15 and was later diagnosed with CMT.
The disease was discovered by three doctors in the late 1800s. Their surnames make up the name of the disease: Jean Charcot; Pierre Marie; and Howard Henry Tooth.
CMT is considered the most commonly inherited form of peripheral neuropathy affecting about one in every 2,500 adults worldwide.
The disease is diagnosed through clinical features of muscle atrophy, age of onset, electromyography (better known as an EMG), nerve biopsy, and genetic testing.
For more medical information about CMT, visit the Website: www.neurologychannel.com/charcot.

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