The Muscular Dystrophy Association has awarded 44 new grants totaling $13.6 million to advance the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular diseases. The new grants, most of which took effect Feb. 1, encompass a range of diseases covered by MDA’s research program, and they support innovative approaches to basic research and new drug development.
In addition to addressing 16 specific neuromuscular diseases under MDA’s umbrella, the grants also fund research into muscular dystrophy in general, and research into muscle physiology related to neuromuscular disease.
A clinical trial is a test in humans of an experimental medication or therapy. Clinical trials are experiments, not treatments, and participation requires careful consideration.
Although it's possible to benefit from participating in a clinical trial, it's also possible that no benefit — or even harm — may occur. Keep your MDA clinic doctor informed about any clinical trial participation. (Note that MDA has no ability to influence who is chosen to participate in a clinical trial.)
Recent MDA-supported research in distal muscular dystrophy (DD) has concentrated on understanding how the gene defects that cause this diverse group of diseases affect the proteins made from these genes, and in turn how these protein abnormalities affect muscle tissue.
When the protein and tissue abnormalities are understood, it is hoped, potential avenues of treatment will reveal themselves.
Problems and solutions in distal muscular dystrophy (DD)
Forearm and hand weakness
Your MDA clinic can refer you to an occupational therapist who can help you get the most out of your hand and forearm muscles in performing day-to-day activities. Often, the therapist can recommend devices that may improve grip strength or help support your arms for using a keyboard or eating.
All the forms of muscular dystrophy are inherited — that is, they’re caused by mutations (changes) in a person’s genes. Our genes are made of DNA and reside in our chromosomes. Each gene contains the “recipe” for a different protein and its variations, and these proteins are necessary for our bodies to function correctly.
What tests are used to diagnose distal muscular dystrophy (DD)?
In diagnosing any form of muscular dystrophy, a doctor usually begins by taking a patient and family history and performing a physical examination. Much can be learned from these, including the pattern of weakness. The history and physical go a long way toward making the diagnosis, even before any complicated diagnostic tests are done.