Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD)

Research

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.

Medical Management

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.

Signs and Symptoms

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.

Overview

What is Becker muscular dystrophy?

Becker muscular dystrophy affects the muscles of the hips, pelvic area, thighs and shoulders, as well as the heart.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Description: 

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

In this section, you’ll find up-to-date information about Becker 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: The DMD/BMD-Affected Heart

In both Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), deterioration of the heart muscle, a condition known as cardiomyopathy, is a major cause of disability and death.

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.

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