Nationwide Children’s Hospital Named a CMT Center of Excellence

May 29, 2019

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - The Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association has named Nationwide Children’s Hospital a CMT Center of Excellence, in recognition of the comprehensive care and expertise provided to children with the most common form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT1A.

Also called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a group of inherited neurological disorders affecting an estimated 2.8 million adults and children worldwide.

Gene mutations reduce the ability of peripheral nerves to carry motor and sensory information, typically resulting in pain and slowly progressing weakness and muscle atrophy in the feet and lower legs then the hands and arms. In rare cases, CMT can affect breathing. There is currently no treatment for the CMT1A form of the disease.

The hospital joins The Ohio State University and 24 other institutions as a CMT Center of Excellence.

“This puts Columbus Ohio on the map for CMT expertise, with OSU delivering care to adults and Nationwide Children’s delivering care to children,” says Zarife Sahenk, MD, PhD, an attending neurologist and director of Clinical and Experimental Neuromuscular Pathology at Nationwide Children’s. “I am very excited that the CMT Association reached out to recognize our center with others as a Center of Excellence.”

Referrals of children with CMT to the  Nationwide Children’s program have grown in recent years, after the hospital began offering a weekly CMT clinic. Nationwide Children’s provides CMT patients physical medicine, orthopedics and physical therapy, genetic counseling, occupational therapy and other services.

The designation as a center of excellence will give CMT patients access to resources provided by CMTA, including educational resources for them and their families, options to attend summer camps and more, says Dr. Sahenk who is a professor of Pediatrics, Pathology and Neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. In addition to sponsoring Centers of Excellence, CMTA also supports research, including a database of 7,000 de-identified patient records used to establish an evaluation scale for children.

Nationwide Children’s will begin a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial of a gene therapy designed to protect and restore peripheral nerve function in children and adults with CMT1A later this year.

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Neuromuscular Disorders

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at