Muscular dystrophy (MD) is the name used for a number of muscle diseases that cause weakening and lose of function/mobility in the body. Though the exact number of people who have MD is unknown, the most common form is found in 1 out of every 5600 – 7700 males in the US, ages 6 to 24.
(photo credit: Josh M.)
Though it generally shows up at a younger age, adults can develop MD as well.
Medical records reporting conditions similar to MD date back as far as the early 1800’s. Though research and understanding has advanced significantly since then, much is still not understood about what exactly causes it and how it can be treated.
To that end, there is currently no cure to muscular dystrophy. Even treatment is rather broad.
But with the rapid advances in technology recently, scientists are able to see and monitor bodily functions and reactions in ways never before possible.
Current Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy
Though there is no way to prevent the progression of MD, there are some treatment options currently available. Physical therapy and exercise can slow the weakening of muscles, lessen joint pain, and prevent spinal deformation.
Surgery can help with muscle pain and function as well. For more severe cases, a person is often given a pacemaker. Corticosteroid is a type of hormonal steroid that can slow muscle wasting. Other medications are often given to lessen pain and tension.
Breathing exercises and heart monitoring are an important part of MD treatment, as complications with the lungs and heart tend to be a greater threat than the muscle weakening itself.
Trials and Testings on the Horizon
A number of treatments and theories are currently being tested out regarding MD. For certain types of MD, autopsies have shown that there appears to be a shortage of or complication involving the dystrophin gene. Scientists are looking into injecting healthy dystrophin genes into the human body, hoping that this might slow or reverse the effects of MD.
Other trials are utilizing the supplements creatine and glutamine to possibly improve muscle function. Nutrition as a whole is a key focus point for many current studies, from protein levels to calcium intake, and more.
Some scientists are looking into adding new, fully functioning muscle onto a person’s body to restore function. Earlier this year, a team of researchers was able to develop a muscle in a laboratory that was then successfully grafted onto the legs of mice. Though they’re not ready for human trials yet, they’re building their way there.
A scientific breakthrough like this wouldn’t just affect people with MD, but those with severe muscular injuries as well.
The Future of Muscular Dystrophy
The medical breakthroughs we’ve seen in the past two-three years on a level never seen before. From lab grown organs to 3D printed body replacements to the restoration of hearing and site with mechanical devices, there’s little doubt that the future is here regarding medicine and technology.
No, there might not be a cure for muscular dystrophy, but there are many trials currently going on. Even if they don’t result in full-cure or a better treatment, these types of tests do usually lead to a better understanding of the condition.
And the more doctors understand muscular dystrophy, the more likely they are to find a way around it eventually.
Rollx Vans and Muscular Dystrophy
Rollx Vans, a nationwide distributor of wheelchair vans for sale partners with organizations such as MDA to raise awareness and drive research for conditions such as muscular dystrophy.