Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of genetic, hereditary muscle diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness. Muscular dystrophy are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue. Nine diseases including Duchenne, Becker, limb girdle, congenital, facio scapulohumeral, myotonic, oculopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss are always classified as Muscular dystrophy.
Principal symptoms include:
Progressive Muscular weakness
Limited Range of Movement
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
Inability to walk
What are the Treatments for Muscular Dystrophy?
There is no cure for any form of muscular dystrophy (MD) but medications and therapy can slow the course of the disease. Human trials of gene therapy with the dystrophin gene are on the near horizon. For instance, scientists are researching ways to insert a working dystrophin gene into the muscles of boys with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies.
Researchers are investigating the potential of certain muscle-building medicines to slow down or reverse the progression of muscular dystrophy. Other trials are looking into the effects of the dietary supplements creatine and glutamine on muscle energy production and storage.
Natural Treatment of Muscular dystrophy
As DMD affects nearly all the muscles of the body, a number of challenges have to be faced by those involved in the treatment process. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed for effective management of the disabling disease.
Various forms of treatment involving light weight braces and splints, physiotherapy, pulmonary therapy (breathing support) and surgery can be instituted.
The choice of a particular treatment largely depends on the clinical condition of the patient and the doctor's discretion.
Following identification of the DMD gene, researchers have developed animal models that mimic the disease. Such clinical experiments have now enhanced our pre-existing knowledge regarding the disease.
Active research is also being conducted to examine if injection of normal muscle cells (from healthy patients) or introduction of corrected form of the dystrophin gene into muscle cells (gene therapy) would reverse the disease process.
With such hope-giving treatment modalities on the horizon, a treatment for DMD is not so far.
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