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August 27, 1982

Treatment of Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy

Author Affiliations

Newington Children's Hospital Newington, Conn

JAMA. 1982;248(8):922-923. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330080012009

To the Editor.—  The recent article by Crisp and colleagues (1982;247:478) and the accompanying editorial by Shelborne (1982;247:496), both of which emphasize the value of early diagnosis in Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD), are highly commendable and may help to prevent needless tragedy and suffering. However, not everyone will agree with the authors' statements that the disease is "untreatable"; that "there is no effective therapy"; that "there is no treatment"; and that "we have little more to offer in this tragic disorder."The disease may be incurable, but it is not untreatable. The natural history of untreated DMD is that most children will stop walking by age 9 to 12 years, and, once confined to a wheelchair, the development of flexion contractures of major joints and progressive equinovarus foot deformities is rapid. At the same time, progressive scoliosis develops in about 60% of patients with DMD, which may eventually terminate their