Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy (MMD)

‘Focused, Intense’ MDA Conference Advances Neuromuscular Disease Research

Turning neuromuscular disease research into treatments as quickly and effectively as possible was the overarching theme of dozens of formal presentations, nearly 200 scientific posters, and countless informal conversations at the MDA Scientific Conference, April 21-24.

A palpable sense of excitement pervaded the sold-out event thanks to the unprecedented number of experimental treatments in clinical trials for neuromuscular diseases, and the unique opportunity the conference provided for information-sharing and collaboration among scientific professionals from many disciplines.

MDA Scientific Conference To Emphasize Therapy Development

The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual conference being held in Washington, D.C., on April 21-24, 2013, is centered on the theme Therapy Development for Neuromuscular Diseases: Translating Hope into Promise.

New Guidelines on Genetic Testing in Children

As scientists learn more about what our DNA can tell us about health and disease, public interest has intensified and genetic testing has become increasingly common. In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) have released new guidelines to address updated technologies and new uses of genetic testing and screening in children.

Researchers Tweak Experimental Therapy for MMD1

Scientists at the biopharmaceutical company Genzyme, working with mice, say they have modified and improved an existing experimental strategy to treat type 1 myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD1, also known as DM1).

Congenital-Onset MMD1

Medical Management

Babies born with congenital-onset MMD1 have the most complex medical challenges seen in MMD. Although the prognosis for these children has improved, the disease still has profound consequences and can be life-threatening, especially in the early months.

The subjects covered in this section are:

Adult-Onset MMD1/MMD2 and Juvenile-Onset MMD1

Medical Management

This section addresses medical management of the many symptoms of adult-onset MMD1 and MMD2, as well as juvenile-onset MMD1. These three forms of MMD share similar medical management strategies.

The subjects covered are:

Juvenile-Onset MMD1

Signs and Symptoms

When MMD1 begins in early childhood (but not at birth), the first symptoms tend to be more behavioral and cognitive than physical. Some people with the juvenile-onset form struggle with planning ahead, decision-making and visual-spatial processing. An "avoidant" or apathetic personality can be part of the picture.

As the child matures into adulthood, typical features of adult-onset MMD1 usually emerge.

$13.6 Million in New MDA Grants Promote Understanding, Treatment of Neuromuscular Diseases

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.

MMD — Darren Monckton, Ph.D.

Darren Monckton, professor of human genetics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, was awarded an MDA research grant totaling $273,892 over a period of two years to develop new diagnostic tests for myotonic muscular dystrophy type 1 (MMD1, also known as DM1)

Muscle Physiology — Masahiro Iwamoto, Ph.D., D.D.S.

Masahiro Iwamoto, research scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and associate professor of pediatric orthopedics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was awarded an MDA research grant totaling $405,000 over a period of three years to study new ways to reduce muscle degeneration.

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