U of M researchers hope video game can help children diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

May 26, 2019 11:08 PM

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota has created a video game they can use to measure muscle strength.

And, for the thousands of children diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy every year, it could open doors that have never been open before.


There is no cure for DMD and few treatment options are available. Many families see clinical trials as a great hope. But they are not easy to get into.

About one in every 5,000 boys between ages 5-9 suffers from the hereditary disorder, according to researchers at the University of Iowa.

Difficulty walking is common for children with DMD. But those who want to participate in a clinical trial usually need to be able to walk for six minutes. It's how researchers test their strength to see if the experimental therapies or drugs from those trials are working.

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"The majority of Duchenne patients will become wheel chair bound around 10 to 12 years old," said Dr. DeWayne Townsend at the U of M. "But they will live 20 or 30 years."

Now, though, the U of M researchers hope a video game called Rocket Launch will create an available option. 

Townsend hopes the game can be part of a new standard for measuring muscle strength.

"One of the things we like about this test is it allows us to measure muscle function in patients - both while they are ambulatory and after they are in wheel chairs," he said.

Dr. Peter Karachumski, a neurologist who collaborates with Townsend, said a test like this could open clinical trials up to more patients. And the more who participate, the better the chances of finding a cure or a new treatment for DMD.


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Leah McLean

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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