Age, height, weight, body mass index (BMI), functional level, and muscle strength are associated with balance in children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, according to a new study published in the journal Gait & Posture.

These data suggest that balance and strength training “should be an integral part of the rehabilitation” of these patients, Merve Kurt, of the Izmir Katip Celebi University in Turkey, and colleagues noted.

Impaired balance ability can limit the functional level of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. It is, therefore, important to address balance issues in these patients, the study authors added.


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The researchers set out to identify factors associated with balance ability. In doing so, they studied 20 patients with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Patients were 5 to 12 years of age.  

The team recorded patients’ body weight, height, age, and BMI and assessed their functional level using the Motor Function Measurement-32 and Brooke and Vignos Scales.

They also measured the muscle strength of hip and knee flexion, extension, and ankle dorsiflexion. They then performed balance measurements using the Balance Master System.

The results showed that the balance abilities of children with Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) were better than those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Balance abilities were reduced with age, and there was a positive correlation between balance and BMI, height, and weight.

There was also a positive correlation between balance and functional level. Muscle strength was positively correlated with balance.

DMD and BMD are both caused by a mutation in the DMD gene that codes for the dystrophin protein. The difference between the 2 diseases is that in DMD, the mutation leads to the dystrophin protein being completely absent, while in BMD, there is still a shorter but somewhat functional dystrophin protein.

Reference

Kurtab M, Savaş D, Tarsuslu Şimşek T, YİŞ U. Factors associated with balance ability in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies. Gait Posture. Published online November 17, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2022.11.008