Researchers from the University of Iowa College of Public Health have reported in the first broad study in the United States the frequency of two muscle-weakness disorders that strike mostly boys: Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy.
The study found that about one in 5,000 boys, between 5 and 9 years old, have the inherited disorders. It also shows the diseases appear to affect Hispanic boys more often than White or African-American boys, for reasons that are not well understood.
The findings are important, because they give a better understanding of the number of children and families affected by the disorders. This new information gives doctors and health-care professionals valuable data, so they can better plan to care for those affected, especially as the diseases progress.
“There were always some rather crude estimates of how common these muscular dystrophies are,” says Dr. Paul Romitti, an epidemiologist at the UI and corresponding author of the study, published online in the journal Pediatrics. “It tells us that they’re still an important public health concern.”