IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th September, 2023 Health

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Picture Courtesy: www.worldduchenneday.org

Context: World Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day, observed on September 7th each year, serves as a vital platform to raise awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy and support initiatives aimed at improving the lives of individuals affected by this debilitating condition.


  • The primary objective of World Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day is to increase awareness and understanding of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) among the general public. This includes educating people about the condition, its causes, symptoms, and challenges faced by individuals with DMD.
  • The day also serves as an opportunity to advocate for the rights and needs of individuals with DMD. This may involve lobbying for improved healthcare services, access to treatments, and a supportive environment for those living with the condition.
  • Each year, World Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day may have a specific theme that reflects the current challenges and goals associated with DMD. The theme for 2023 is "Duchenne: Breaking Barriers," which likely underscores the need to overcome obstacles and improve the lives of individuals with DMD.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disorder, and its origin lies in a specific genetic mutation.


  • Genetic Mutation: DMD is caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene, which is located on the X-chromosome. This mutation results in the absence or deficiency of the dystrophin protein.
  • X-Linked Recessive Inheritance: DMD follows an X-linked recessive inheritance pattern. Females typically have two X-chromosomes (XX) and carry one functioning dystrophin gene. Males, who have one X and one Y chromosome (XY), are more susceptible to the disorder since they have only one X-chromosome, and if it carries the mutated dystrophin gene, they will manifest the disease.


  • Muscle Weakness: Progressive muscle weakness is the hallmark of DMD. Children with DMD may initially have difficulty with activities like walking, running, and climbing stairs due to muscle weakness.
  • Delayed Motor Milestones: Children with DMD may experience delayed motor milestones, such as crawling and walking, compared to their peers.
  • Gait Abnormalities: Individuals with DMD often develop an unusual gait characterized by a waddling or toe-walking pattern.
  • Cardiac Complications: DMD can lead to cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscles weaken and cannot pump blood effectively. Cardiac complications can become significant as the disease progresses.
  • Respiratory Issues: The respiratory muscles are also affected, leading to a gradual decline in lung function. This can result in difficulties in breathing and may necessitate the use of ventilatory support.
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges: Some individuals with DMD may experience learning and behavioural challenges. This can include difficulties with concentration, memory, and certain aspects of learning. It's important to note that not all individuals with DMD experience cognitive issues.
  • Muscle Atrophy: Muscle wasting and atrophy occur as the disease advances, leading to a loss of muscle mass.
  • Contractures: Joint contractures, where joints become fixed in certain positions due to muscle weakness, can develop in individuals with DMD.
  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, is common in individuals with DMD and may require orthopaedic intervention.


  • DMD results in severe physical disabilities, making it increasingly difficult for affected individuals to perform basic daily activities.
  • Coping with a chronic and debilitating condition can be emotionally challenging for both individuals with DMD and their families. The progressive nature of the disease can be distressing.
  • Managing DMD can be expensive due to the cost of medical care, assistive devices, and therapies, placing a significant financial burden on families.
  • Individuals with DMD may face social challenges due to their physical limitations. They may require support and accommodations in school and social settings.
  • Families and caregivers often take on the responsibility of providing care and support, which can be physically and emotionally demanding.

Challenges associated with DMD

  • There was no cure for DMD. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and improving the quality of life.
  • DMD is progressive, and the severity of symptoms tends to worsen over time, posing ongoing challenges for affected individuals and their families.
  • Managing heart and lung complications can be complex and may require specialized care.
  • Addressing cognitive and behavioural challenges, when present, requires a multifaceted approach involving education and support.

Way Forward

  • Continued research into DMD aims to better understand the genetic basis of the disease and identify potential therapeutic targets.
  • Emerging gene therapies show promise in restoring dystrophin production or function in affected individuals.
  • Exon-skipping drugs are being developed to help restore the reading frame of the dystrophin gene and potentially slow the progression of the disease.
  • Improvements in supportive care, including physical therapy, respiratory support, and cardiac care, continue to enhance the quality of life for individuals with DMD.
  • Patient advocacy groups and organizations play a crucial role in raising awareness, supporting research, and advocating for improved care and resources.


  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a complex and devastating genetic disorder that affects various aspects of a person's life, primarily due to progressive muscle weakness. While there is currently no cure, ongoing research offers hope for improved treatments and outcomes for those living with DMD.


Q. Consider the following statements in the context of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD):

1. DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene located on the Y-chromosome.

2. Females can be carriers of the mutation but are less likely to show symptoms.

3. There is no cure for DMD.

How many of the above statements is/are correct?

A. Only one

B. Only two

C. All three

D. None

Answer: B


Statement 1 is incorrect: DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene located on the X-chromosome. This gene encodes the dystrophin protein, which is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of muscle fibres. Mutations in the dystrophin gene result in the absence or deficiency of dystrophin.

Statement 2 is correct: DMD follows an X-linked recessive inheritance pattern. This means that it primarily affects males, who have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome. If the X-chromosome they inherit from their mother carries the mutated dystrophin gene, they will typically manifest the disease. Females, with two X-chromosomes, can be carriers of the mutation but are less likely to show symptoms.

Statement 3 is correct:  There is no cure for DMD, various treatments and interventions can help manage the condition and improve the quality of life. These may include physical therapy, corticosteroids, cardiac medications, respiratory support, and orthopaedic interventions. Research into DMD is ongoing, and there are promising avenues of treatment being explored, such as gene therapies and exon-skipping drugs aimed at restoring dystrophin production or function.