June 18, 2009

New early MD diagnosis method proposed

British medical scientists say they used an animal study to demonstrate a method of making an early diagnosis of muscular dystrophy, before symptoms develop.

University of Birmingham researchers said they used mice to study the key proteins involved in two types of muscular dystrophy -- Duchenne muscular dystrophy and a milder form, Limb Girdle MD.

The researchers said they identified disrupted stem cell function and delays of skeletal muscle formation in embryos of muscular dystrophy-like mice. The severity of the embryonic abnormalities closely corresponded to the severity of symptoms seen in both types of MD.

The scientists said their study shows there are prenatal signs for muscular dystrophy, and suggests both types might be detected before birth or shortly after.

The study by Deborah Merrick, Lukas Stadler, Dean Larner and Janet Smith appears in the July/August issue of the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms.