A muscle biopsy (the removal and exam of a small sample of muscle tissue)
DNA (genetic) testing
Electromyography or nerve conduction tests (which use electrodes to test muscle and/or nerve function)
Blood enzyme tests (to look for the presence of creatine kinase, which reveals deterioration of muscle fibers)
For Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, muscle biopsy may show whether dystrophin, a muscle protein, is missing or abnormal, and DNA testing is used to analyze the condition of the related gene. Genetic testing also is available for some forms of muscular dystrophy.
Unusual cancers of childhood are cancers rarely seen in children.
Cancer in children and teenagers is rare. Since 1975, the number of new cases of childhood cancer has slowly increased. Since 1975, the number of deaths from childhood cancer has decreased by more than half.
Unusual cancers are so rare that most children's hospitals might see less than a handful of some types in several years. Because the unusual cancers are so rare, there is not a lot of information about what treatment works...
There is no cure for any form of muscular dystrophy, but medications and therapy can slow the course of the disease. Human trials of gene therapy with the dystrophin gene are on the near horizon. For instance, scientists are researching ways to insert a working dystrophin gene into the muscles of boys with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies.
Researchers are investigating the potential of certain muscle-building medicines to slow down or reverse the progression of muscular dystrophy. Other trials are looking into the effects of the dietary supplementscreatine and glutamine on muscle energy production and storage.
Conventional Medicine for Muscular Dystrophy
Symptoms often can be relieved through exercise, physical therapy, rehabilitative devices, respiratory care, and surgery:
Exercise and physical therapy can minimize abnormal or painful positioning of the joints and may prevent or delay curvature of the spine. Respiratory care, deep breathing, and coughing exercises are often recommended.
Canes, powered wheelchairs, and other rehabilitative devices can help those with MD maintain mobility and independence.
Surgery can sometimes relieve muscle shortening. In Emery-Dreifuss and myotonic muscular dystrophy, it's often necessary to surgically implant a cardiac pacemaker.
In some cases, disease progression can be slowed or symptoms relieved with medication: