September 11, 2016
The entire population of Tamil Nadu will soon be screened for symptoms of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), as part of an ambitious drive by Coimbatore-based Molecular Diagnostics Counselling Care and Research Centre (MDCRC), to spread awareness about the deadly disease. 42 health centres all over Tamil Nadu will be surveyed as part of the campaign.
One of the volunteers from MDCRC informed Covai Post that the project has been approved by the State Planning Commission (SPC).
“We have carried out camps in Trichy and soon we will reach out to other regions in Tamil Nadu. In order to reach out to the entire population, we are hosting camps in multiple locations in each district,” he said. In Trichy alone, 40 boys were identified with DMD.
DMD is a life threatening genetic neuromuscular disorder that affects boys. There is currently no cure for the disease. A majority of Duchenne patients are boys and young men who progressively lose their physical functions before they inevitably succumb to it. The disease, on an average, affects one in every 3,500 new-born boys. The prevalence among girls is very, very low.
Boys affected with DMD lose their ability to walk during their childhood. When they grow up as adults, they lose their ability to use their arms. They soon lose their ability to breathe. They eventually die of respiratory problems or heart failure before they reach adulthood.
Steroids are currently being given to manage the symptoms of the disease. But, the side effects are hard to ignore. Patients who suffer from DMD require good medical care and attention. This not only improves the quality of their life but also prolongs their lifespan by 10 to 20 years. Unfortunately, most young patients do not have access to good care and facilities.
The Molecular Diagnostics Counselling Care and Research Centre (MDCRC) was founded by Coimbatore-based Dr. BR Lakshmi to help parents of children who are diagnosed with DMD. “A comprehensive guideline for the management of DMD was published by a consortium of leading neuromuscular specialists across the world in 2010. Based on these guidelines, MDCRC offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary clinical care programme involving paediatrics, neurology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and psyco-social management for DMD-affected children. A panel of committed physicians, members from MDCRC, paramedical personnel and volunteers are instrumental in making these multi-disciplinary care clinics a reality at MDCRC,” Dr. Lakshmi said.
MDCRC was founded in 2006. Till date, the centre has identified and supported the treatment of 4,500 children who suffer from DMD.
MDCRC is located in Kurinji Hospital on Avinashi Road.