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Muscular dystrophy affects mind too

Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD) not only delays children's movement and coordination, but may also slow their language development.

Muscular dystrophy affects mind too

Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD) not only delays children's development of movement and coordination, but may also slow their language development. DMD occurs in roughly 1 out of every 3500 male births. The disease is thought of as mainly affecting muscles, because children become progressively weaker. However, slowness with words has been described in children and adolescents with the disease. To investigate, researchers from the Columbia University in New York, analysed parents' reports to assess the achievement of 10 common developmental milestones by 130 children with DMD and 59 unaffected siblings. The milestones included smiling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, speaking, forming sentences, being bowel trained, being bladder trained, and reading. It was found that the children with DMD were more likely than their siblings to experience delays in both motor and language development. The results also indicate that DMD children classified as late walkers or late talkers had lower cognition scores than those who walked or talked at the expected age. The findings underscore the need for early intervention services in this population. The initiation of an early intervention may help limit later learning problems, potentially enhancing the quality of life for a group of children who face adversity in the form of enormous physical and emotional challenges.
The Journal of Pediatrics,
May 2007
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