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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
To outline features of the neurologic examination that can be performed virtually through telemedicine platforms (the virtual neurological examination [VNE]), and provide guidance for rapidly pivoting in-person clinical assessments to virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The full neurologic examination is described with attention to components that can be performed virtually.
A screening VNE is outlined that can be performed on a wide variety of patients, along with detailed descriptions of virtual examination maneuvers for specific scenarios (cognitive testing, neuromuscular and movement disorder examinations).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid adoption of virtual medicine will be critical to provide ongoing and timely neurological care. Familiarity and mastery of a VNE will be critical for neurologists, and this article outlines a practical approach to implementation.
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