Charcot-Marie-Tooth (shar-ko¯’ mä-re´ tooth) or CMT is a group of disorders that affects the peripheral nerves and consequently the muscles they innervate. CMT is one of the most common inheritable neuromuscular diseases, affecting an estimated one in 2,500 people worldwide. First discovered in 1886 by Jean-Marie Charcot, Pierri Marie and Howard Henry Tooth, today CMT affects more than 3 million people worldwide.
Although CMT is typically inherited from one’s parents, it can also develop as a result of a new or spontaneous mutation. Symptoms are variable and wide ranging and include pain, numbness, decreased sensation, muscle weakness and eventually muscle deterioration. Loss of normal function and sensation is often seen in the legs, feet, arms and hands. Most frequently the onset of symptoms occurs in the first 10 years of life, although symptoms may begin as early as birth or late into adulthood. CMT is a progressive condition with symptoms worsening over time and can be severely disabling. Currently there is no cure for CMT.
A diagnosis of CMT affects every facet of a patient’s life and while there are no treatments, supportive care is critical to helping the patient lead fuller lives. Connecting with advocacy groups can inform patients about experts in the field, support groups and ongoing research. Some organizations supporting CMT are listed below. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by Nurturing Neurons Guild.