Muscular Dystrophies

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.

Research Briefs: BMD, DMD, EDMD, FA, LGMD, OPMD, Pompe disease, SMA

Idebenone may help maintain respiratory function in DMD

Santhera Pharmaceuticals announced May 9, 2011, that its drug Catena (generic name idebenone) appears to slow the decline in respiratory function associated with aging in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Idebenone may improve energy production in muscle and nerve cells.

AAN Research Briefs on DM, DMD, LGMD, MG, MMD, SMA

Below are brief reports and links to more information about neuromuscular disease research presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), held in Honolulu April 9-16, 2011.

MDA Surveying Families about ‘Cost of Illness’

Most people affected by neuromuscular disease know all too well that their condition is costly. MDA wants to find out just how costly — and then translate those figures into terms that will speak to policy makers.

Scholarships, Grants Available to People with Disabilities

(Update 9/14/11: The 2011 scholarship winners have been selected. To view a list of winners visit www.deshae.org/cmms/awards/2011/scholars.pdf. Applications for quality of life grants continue to be accepted and are awarded on an ongoing basis.)

Research Briefs: CMT, IBM, LGMD, MTM/CNM, Pompe disease

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

A two-year, large-scale trial of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in people with type 1A Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1A) conducted in Italy and the United Kingdom has found the substance had no significant effect on the disease compared with a placebo. Ascorbic acid was taken orally at 1.5 grams per day in this study. An ongoing U.S.-based trial (now closed to recruitment) is testing ascorbic acid in CMT1A at a dosage of 4 grams per day for two years.

Research Briefs: DMD Exon Skipping

sClinical trials that use compounds called antisense oligonucleotides to cause skipping of exon 51 of the dystrophin gene in individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) are moving forward in the United States and elsewhere.

Exon skipping for DMD is a strategy that coaxes muscle fibers to ignore, or "skip," the genetic instructions for certain parts of the dystrophin gene so that functional dystrophin protein can be made despite the presence of a genetic mutation.

DMD/BMD Drug Screen in Zebrafish Finds Three Candidates

Three small molecules that normalize muscle structure and function and improve survival in dystrophin-deficient zebrafish have been identified by scientists at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, and Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau.

The three chemicals, which already are approved for other medical uses, were found to increase survival and normalize muscle structure and function in the dystrophin-deficient fish without increasing  production of the muscle protein dystrophin. 

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.

IL10 Protein May Influence DMD Severity

A team of researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) has demonstrated that the naturally occurring protein interleukin 10 (IL10) may help reduce harmful inflammation and promote muscle regeneration in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and potentially those with other forms of muscular dystrophy.

MDA supported James Tidball, director of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research Center at UCLA, for this work.

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