Can Muscular Dystrophy Be Reversed?

Gene mutations cannot be completely reversed as the information in the gene has become dysfunctional. Although, the muscular dystrophy can be reversed in some cells through gene therapy, but this therapy is in a very initial stage.

Can Muscular Dystrophy Be Reversed?

Muscular dystrophy is disease which does not have any cure. Further, this disease involves gene mutation thus it cannot be completely reversed.1 The disease is developed in a patient through two ways. In congenital muscular dystrophy, the disease is inherited form the parents. It is to be noted that the inheritance of the disease is different in males and females. It is inherited in X-linked chromosome recessive pattern. The other way through which the disease is developed is acquired. The disease can be acquired later in the life through spontaneous mutation in the gene. The congenital disease has more severe symptoms as compared to acquired form.

Further, different muscular dystrophy mutations occur in different stages of life. Thus, one form is more dominantly found in childhood while other form is commonly found in adults. The mutation in the genes is very hard to be reversed. Mutation is the process of changes in the structure of the genes and the information which is present in them. Gene therapy is the process through, which new and healthy genes can be incorporated in the muscle cells, but this therapy is under trial. Although the complete condition of muscular dystrophy cannot be reversed or cured, but the condition can be managed through integrated approach.

The approach in the management of muscular dystrophy is to slow the progression of the disease so that the life span of the patient is increased, reduction in the symptoms, improving the quality of life and making the patient independent. Various drugs are used to slow the disease progression, and exercise is advised to reduce the symptoms such as muscle stiffness. Further, various aids such as braces, wheel chairs or walker are used by the patients to improve the quality of life.

Muscular Dystrophy Prognosis

The prognosis of the disease depends upon the variety of factors. To make the prognosis favorable, in context to muscular dystrophy, the main aim of the physician is to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications. Following are the factors that impact the prognosis of muscular dystrophy:

Speed Of Progression Of Disease: If the speed of progression of the disease is very high, the patient has poor prognosis. However, if the progression is slowed by drugs such as steroids or immunosuppressants, the patient has favorable prognosis.

Response Of The Patient Towards Treatment: Although the muscular dystrophy is incurable disease, but various treatment regimens delays the progression of disease and improves the quality of life. Thus, if the patient positively responds to the treatment, there is a favorable prognosis.

Muscles Affected: Although all the muscles of the body are important, but some muscles perform the vital functions. These functions include cardiac function, respiratory function and brain function. If these muscles are affected by the muscular dystrophy, the patient may experience life-threatening complication and sudden death may occur. Thus, if the vital muscles are affected, patient have poor prognosis.

Source Of Disease: Source of the disease also affects the prognosis of muscular dystrophy. Congenital muscular dystrophy shows more severe symptoms as compared to acquired muscular dystrophy. Thus, patient having congenital form has poor prognosis as compared to acquired form, provided other factors are common.

Degree Of Muscle Weakness: Various forms of muscular dystrophy exists. In one form of muscular dystrophy, the gene mutation occurs in such a way that the synthesis of dystrophin is completely absent.2 This is a severe form of the disease and the patient have relatively poor prognosis. In other form of muscular dystrophy, gene mutation occurs in such a way that the dystrophin so formed is smaller than the original one. These patients have favorable prognosis.

Conclusion

Muscular dystrophy cannot be reversed in the same cells in which mutation has occurred. Although the condition can partially be reversed through gene therapy, but this therapy is in very nascent stage.

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