Mark created this self-portrait at age 17 at an MDA-sponsored children’s art workshop held at the Tucson Museum of Art. He graduated from Sabino High School. Mark’s interests include photography and classic cars.
Carlos began painting professionally in 2007. He works part-time for the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. During his teen years, Carlos looked forward to playing baseball professionally, but weakness in his legs and pain while walking and running led to a diagnosis of BMD. As a child he enjoyed drawing, music and poetry. One of his paintings is used in the packaging of Ocumare Grand dark chocolate, produced by Amano.
MDA-supported investigators are actively pursuing several approaches to halt or reverse the muscle damage caused by Becker muscular dystrophy.
Some of the front-running strategies include: inserting new dystrophin genes; changing the way cells interpret genetic instructions for dystrophin; changing the mutated dystrophin gene itself; manipulating other proteins in the body to compensate for the lack of dystrophin; increasing blood flow to muscles; and using stem cells to repair damaged muscles.
Some studies are focused specifically on the dystrophin-deficient heart.
Thanks to general medical advances, particularly in cardiology, people with Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) are living longer in the 21st century than in previous decades. As of 2011, most therapies are supportive in nature, although truly disease-modifying therapies are the subject of intense research.
MDA clinic physicians can provide referrals to specialists and therapists for these forms of care. The use of available therapies can help maintain comfort and function and prolong life expectancy.
The pattern of muscle loss in BMD usually begins with the hips and pelvic area, the thighs and the shoulders. To compensate for weakening muscles, the person may walk with a waddling gait, walk on his toes or stick out the abdomen.
The rate of muscle degeneration varies a great deal from one person to another. Some men require wheelchairs by their 30s or later, while some manage for many years with minor aids, such as canes.