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Duchenne and the brain: What is known from animal models?

We all know that in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, the muscles are affected. However, there are also dystrophin variants in the brain. This leads to cognitive and/or behavioral issues in up to 50% of Duchenne patients. As ‘Duchenne and the Brain’ is this year’s theme on World Duchenne Awareness Day, we have published a summary on what is currently known on brain involvement in Duchenne in animal models. 

A wide spectrum of disorders in DMD and BMD is seen. Individuals affected by Duchenne and Becker may have a lower IQ, learning difficulties, and memory impairments. Next to this, ADHD, OCD and anxiety are fairly common. Some individuals also suffer from epilepsy, in Becker more often than in Duchenne.

Next to having the genetic defect itself, other factors also affect behavior, for example medicine use like corticosteroids. A lack of awareness and attention to these cognitive and behavioral problems leads to inadequate care regarding these issues, that are greatly impacting the lives of the patient and family.

WDO’s scientific writer Dr. Ingrid Verhaart published an article summarizing the research that is done on animal models, that gives us more insight on how this might reflect in people with DMD and BMD.

Click here to access the report ‘Duchenne and the brain; What is known from animal models?’