Cardiac & Respiratory Function Supported by Abdominal Muscles in Muscular Dystrophy

This study, reported in the Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases found that “abdominal muscles may be severely involved in the muscular dystrophy process. The abdominal muscles are important to provide respiratory support when the diaphragm muscle has been damaged by the disease, so that additional abdominal muscle involvement can worsen the respiratory situation considerably.”

“In MD where both breathing muscles and cardiac muscles are affected, this interdependence can lead to accelerated pathology. Normally, the diaphragm muscle drives about 50% of respiratory force, but other muscles provide the remainder. In MD, that balance is changed once the diaphragm becomes damaged. As the disease progresses, the abdominal muscles take over more of the respiratory function, but little is known about how the abdominal muscles themselves are affected by the progression of the disease, and whether these changes in abdominal muscle function correlate to underlying cardiopulmonary pathology.”

Lead investigator Elizabeth M. McNally, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, discussed the implications for human muscular dystrophy, saying,

“Supporting and maintaining proper cardiopulmonary function in neuromuscular disease is a mainstay of therapy. Maintaining diaphragm health has been the focus of many studies in both humans and mice with muscular dystrophy, but few studies have focused on supporting and evaluating the accessory muscles of respiration such as the abdominal muscles. Therapies that spare or protect the muscles of respiration in muscular dystrophy have been shown to slow down overall disease progression and prolong life. The accessory muscles of respiration, whether in human patients or animal models, may prove a viable target especially for therapy directed at specific muscle groups.”

Read more about the study here >

Also check out Respiratory Muscle Training for children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy >

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