Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSH or FSHD)


Today, the most reliable way to diagnose facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is with a test for a tiny missing section of DNA on chromosome 4. This test, which is performed on blood cells, is considered highly accurate for FSHD, even though no specific gene has been identified as being associated with the disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

The age of onset, progression and severity of FSHD vary a great deal.

Usually, symptoms develop during the teen years, with most people noticing some problems by age 20, although weakness in some muscles can begin as early as infancy and as late as the 50s. In some people, the disease can be so mild that no symptoms are noticed. In these cases, the disease may only be diagnosed after another, more affected member of the family comes to medical attention.


What is facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy?

Muscles affected by FSHD (front view) Muscles affected by FSHD (back view)

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy


MDA leads the search for treatments and therapies for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). The Association also provides comprehensive supports and expert clinical care for those living with FSHD.

In this section, you’ll find up-to-date information about facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, as well as many helpful resources. This information has been compiled with input from researchers, physicians and people affected by the disease.

Research Briefs: FA, MG, MM, MMD1, gene therapy

Edison drugs target FA, mitochondrial diseases

Researchers Exploring Disability Perceptions

Researchers at the Psychology of Disability Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are exploring the social identity of people with disabilities through a short, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire.

The lab's Disability Identity Project is being headed by principal investigator Adena Rottenstein, a doctoral candidate in psychology.

The study closes the week of Aug. 22, 2011.

MDA Conference Brings Together Researchers, Clinicians, Industry

Moving therapeutic strategies from the laboratory to clinical trials and ultimately to the market as treatments was the theme of the MDA National Scientific Conference held March 13-16, 2011, in Las Vegas.

Some 300 people attended the conference, the first in a planned series of such MDA-sponsored meetings that will emphasize new research and current medical care. The majority of presenters and many of the audience members were current or former MDA research grantees or physicians at MDA-supported clinics.

Early-Life Protein, Made Too Late, Causes Trouble in FSHD

Little by little, the molecular underpinnings of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) are yielding to scientific investigations. The latest revelations about a protein known as DUX4, announced in October, could bring a treatment for FSHD closer to the clinic.

About recent FSHD research

Race, Cardiomyopathy Shorten Life Span in MD

A new study reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that survival time has significantly increased for certain categories of people with muscular dystrophy (MD) but that race and cardiac status have a large impact on survival.