0229 GMT January 27, 2020
The research team, led by the University of Iowa, found that about one in 5,000 boys, between 5 and 9 years old, have the inherited disorders, Medical Xpress said.
The findings are important, because they give a better understanding of the number of children and families affected by the disorders. They also give doctors and health-care professionals valuable information, 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," said Paul Romitti, an epidemiologist at the UI and corresponding author of the study. "It tells us that they're still an important public health concern."
Muscular dystrophies are a group of genetic disorders that result in muscle weakness over time. The most common muscular dystrophy in children is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which predominantly affects males. Historically, Duchenne has resulted in loss of walking ability between ages 7 and 13 years, and death in the teens or 20s. Becker muscular dystrophy is similar to Duchenne, but has later onset and slower, more variable progression of symptoms. There is no cure for either disorder.
In the population-based study, researchers analyzed data — culled mostly from birth and death certificates and medical records — for children born between 1982 and 2011. They calculated the disorders' prevalence across four five-year time periods, beginning in the 1991-1995 period and ending in 2006-2010.