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Muscular dystrophy is a general name for a group of rare diseases that cause muscle weakness. It is caused by mutations in certain genes. There are more than 30 different types of muscular dystrophy and each type affects certain muscles and varies in severity. Some types of muscular dystrophy affect children, while others don’t appear until adulthood.
The most common type, called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, usually begins between ages 3 to 5, and symptoms progresses quickly. It most often affects boys, though girls can inherit the gene and pass it to their children.
All types of muscular dystrophy get worse over time, and can eventually cause the inability to walk. Some types can also cause problems with breathing.
There is no cure for muscular dystrophy, but treatments can prevent complications and help with symptoms.
At the Boston Children’s Hospital Neuromuscular Center, our team of specialists from neurology, orthopedic surgery, physical therapy and genetics are experienced in caring for children with MD. We are one of five sites in the United States funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Association to conduct multi-center clinical studies on muscular dystrophy.
Many of the genes responsible for muscular dystrophies and other neuromuscular disorders were found right here at Boston Children’s. Today, the researchers who made these discoveries are continuing to learn more and are working to develop treatments.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”