Tuesday, May 7, 2013

About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy



Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an inherited muscle wasting disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness. This muscle weakness occurs when an affected child’s muscle tissue is unable to produce a structural protein called dystrophin. Without this vital protein, muscles suffer significant damage and eventually die.

The progression of DMD causes orthopedic complications, respiratory failure, and heart failure. Boys with DMD are diagnosed in early childhood and are confined to a wheelchair by early adolescence. Because there is no cure for DMD, the life expectancy for a diagnosed child is the late twenties.

Although much is known about the cause and effect of DMD, the current treatment options are extremely limited. Daily stretching and glucocorticosteroids are used to delay the progression of the disease. Doctors are also recommending use of blood pressure medications to slow cardiac muscle deterioration. Parents also often seek out alternative therapies to treat some of the issues that occur as the disease progresses. Nutritional supplements, vitamins, and acupuncture are just a few treatments that have been known to help. There are also some corrective forms of treatment that can be used; these include bracing and spinal fusion surgery.

DMD is a fatal disease, but there are many signs of hope. Recent stem cell and gene therapy research studies are showing promise for replacing damaged muscle tissue. The cure is getting closer, but more research is needed and that can only happen with additional financial support. 

The mission of the Romito Foundation is to improve the treatment and quality of life for all persons living with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. We will aid current and future medical research and support established non-profit organizations with like interests.

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