Charcot-Marie-Tooth, or CMT, is the most commonly inherited neurological disorder and is found world-wide in all races and ethnic groups. Discovered in 1886 by three physicians, Jean-Martin-Charcot, Pierre Marie, and Howard Henry Tooth, CMT affects an estimated 2.6 million people.
CMT patients slowly lose normal use of their feet/legs and hands/arms as nerves to the extremities degenerate and the muscles in the extremities become weakened because of the loss of stimulation by the affected nerves. Many patients also have some loss of sensory nerve function.
CMT is one of the 40 diseases covered by the MDA, but unlike muscular dystrophy, in which the defect is in the muscles, CMT is a disorder in which the defect is in the nerves that control the muscles.
CMT usually isn’t life-threatening and almost never affects brain function. It is not contagious, but it is hereditary and can be passed down from one generation to the next.