DMD – DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY also called DUCHENNE SYNDROME is a X linked recessive genetic disorder; classified under progressive neuromuscular disorders; where in there is mutation of gene expressing the cytoplasmic protein “Dystrophin” causing muscle weakness and wasting.
Dystrophin expressing gene is one of the longest human genes known with 2.3 megabases present on short arm of chromosome X present at locus xp21,
Various proteins colocalises with dystrophin to form Dystrophin-Associated Protein Complex or Costamere. Costamere is an integral component in maintaining structural-functional integrity of striated muscle cells. As Costamere are responsible for linking of internal cytoskeletal system of each muscle fibers to extracellular matrix of collagen and laminin through cell membrane. So costamere connects sarcomere through sarcolemma to the extracellular matrix. So mutation in gene responsible for expressing cytoplasmic protein dystrophin causes structural-functional loss of muscle cell resulting into muscular dystrophy.
Dystrophin plays major role in function of binding of following molecules
- Nitric Oxide Synthase
- Other proteins
- Zinc and other metal ion
- Other cytoskeletal and muscle constituents
THUS DYSTROPHIN PLAYS MAJOR ROLE IN BIOCHEMISTRY OF MANY PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES
- Regulates Ryanodine-sensitive calcium-release channel activity, release of sequestered calcium ion into cytosol by sarcoplasmic reticulum, activity of voltage-gated calcium channel. It is required in activity of Sodium ion transmembrane activity.
- Downregulates peptidyl-cysteine S-nitrosylation and peptidyl-serine phosphorylation, Cellular protein localization, cellular macromolecular complex assembly, peptide biosynthetic process.
- Upregulates Neuron differentiation, neuron projection development, sodium ion transmembrane transporter activity.
- Cardiomyocyte action potential, contractibility by regulating release of sequestered calcium ion thus playing major role in regulating the Heart Rate.
- Myocyte cellular homeostasis. Myofibril development, sliding, response to stretching, Regulates skeletal muscle contraction by regulating release of sequestered calcium ion, required in cytoskeleton organization.
- It regulates cellular response to Growth Factor stimulus. Thus it is also required in growth and development of muscle organ.
EPIDEMIOLOGY OF DMD
Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy one of the most common type of muscular dystrophy affecting 1 in every 5000 male at birth with life expectancy of affected individuals of around 25 years on an average. Many cases show increase in life expectancy of up to additional 10-15 years with proper care and management.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DMD
DMD presents itself with progressive muscle wasting, general weakness fatigue, debility, in later stages complete loss of power in muscles. This loss of power is attributed to muscular dystrophy rather than nerve involvement which is evident on EMG.
Initially there are not many noticeable symptoms but some parents may complaint of child having difficulty in milestone of turning over, or they may say not able to walk properly or “never saw him running or climbing stairs”.
Mental signs and symptoms may start presenting itself more evidently, well in advance, even before physical symptoms become evident. They may show cognitive difficulty, parents may complaint about child having difficulty in talking or getting words, short term verbal memory, many show symptoms of Dyslexia or ADHD and mental symptoms tend to improve after occupational and speech therapy during early childhood but again worsens in later stage of disease.
Physical signs and symptoms starts becoming frankly noticeable only after age of 2-3yrs as described below
General muscle wasting with muscle contractures due to fibrosis the muscles becomes short and they have hypertonicity with much of muscle fibre replaced with fibrous tissue or fat accumution all this gives rise to Pseudo-hypertrophy of muscles especially of calf, hips and shoulders, even tongue becomes thick and enlarged.
At first the muscles of calfs, extensor of knees other muscles of thigh and hip joint are involved then other pelvic muscles and shoulder gets involved so the disease progresses from below upwards
Skeletal deformities due to abnormal muscle tension distribution causing abnormal gait and resultant skeletal deformities like scoliosis, lumbar hyperlordosis
Difficulty walking -typically patient walks on forefeet or toes, running, jumping, hopping, climbing upstairs or down stairs.
Difficulty standing up from lying or sitting posture. Positive Gower’s Sign. If patient is sitting on ground he typically first puts his arms on floor and transfer upper body weight to ground through arms and the lifts pelvic region now with both arms and both knees touching ground and middle body lifted up, he then lifts one knee by putting foot on ground then he works his arms to lift other knee and then stand up by supporting thigh.
Due to muscle dystrophy and weakness patient has abnormal gait and they tend to fall to frequently so they frequently complaint about bodyaches which seems more to be due to trauma due to frequent falls rather than due to disease itself.
In later stages there is complete loss of ability to walk at around 12 yrs of age around and later on at around age of 20yrs there is complete inability to move body from below neck.
Patient’s respiratory muscles gets involved in later stage causing respiratory disorders where in they are required to be assisted with artificial ventilation. Food and fluids pass into respiratory passage. Patient may suffer from severe frequent Pneumonia.
Average life span of person is around 25 years and very few with extreme care have reported to reach out 45yrs of age.
Laboratory Investigations Shows
- Cardiomyopathies (disorders of heart muscles) causing arrythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)
- High blood Creatine-Kinase level.
- Defects in Xp21 gene
- Biopsy of muscles shows absence of dystrophin
- High blood Creatine-Kinase level.
- EMG shows changes of muscle dystrophy rather than nerve involvement
DIAGNOSIS OF DMD
- DNA testing
- Muscle Biopsy
- Prenatal Screening
HOMEOPATHIC TTREATMENT WITH INDICATED MEDICINES FOR DMD
As DMD is a deep seated genetic complaint that passes on generation to generation. So Homeopathic constitutional approach is required and more the disease becomes deep seated and more it passes on from generation to generation the more it starts manifesting it’s symptoms in mental sphere. So mental symptoms are to be carefully evaluated for Homeopathic individualisation at the same time one should not forget that even though the disease has manifested in mental sphere but it’s more pronounced on physical sphere where it shows typical ascending type of muscle wasting. Muscle dystrophy is due to defective production of dystrophin which primarily is functional disturbance and structural loss is secondary to it. So basically Psora has strongly established itself from generations to generations within the constitution of these patients.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES FOR DMD
- Abrotanum – ascending muscle wasting – If one medicine for DMD patients is to be opted, which in most cases will act to certain degree, then my bet will be on abrotanum – personally I have got notable results with this medicine in cases of DMD if posology is well taken care of while administering, as in homeopathy it’s potency selection and repetition is the key to break the case!
- Baryta Carb
- Calcarea Carb
- Calcarea Phos
- Stannum Metallicum
- Agaricus Muscarious
- Arsenicum Album
- Zincum Metallicum
- Acidum Nitricum
SUPPORTIVE TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Exercise -mild non-jarring like swimming helps maintain muscle strength without stressing or damaging it much
Physiotherapy helps to maintain muscle tone.
Supportive rehabilitation kits and orthopedic appliances like braces etc
Artificial respirator support in later stages when respiratory muscles starts weaknening
Pacemakers in patients with arrhythmia