A comparative study of care practices for young boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy between Japan and European countries: Implications of early diagnosis

Neuromuscul Disord. 2017 Oct;27(10):894-904. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2017.06.557. Epub 2017 Jul 6.


Early diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is widely advocated to initiate proactive interventions and genetic counselling. Genetic testing now allows the diagnosis of DMD even prior to the onset of symptoms. However, little is known about care practices and their impact on young DMD boys and families after receiving an early diagnosis. We analysed 64 young boys (Japan, 19; the United Kingdom, 10; Germany, 18; Hungary, 6; Poland, 5; and the Czech Republic, 6) aged <5 years and diagnosed at ≤2 years old among the participants of the cross-sectional study about care practice in DMD. A combination of elevated serum creatine kinase and genetic testing usually led to the diagnosis (n = 31, 48%); 41 boys visited neuromuscular clinics more than once a year. Early diagnosis did not generally result in higher satisfaction among DMD families, and country-specific differences were observed. Psychosocial support following early diagnosis was perceived as insufficient in most countries, and deficits in access and uptake of genetic counselling resulted in lower satisfaction in the Japanese cohort. In conclusion, seamless and comprehensive support for DMD families following early diagnosis at presymptomatic stages should be taken into consideration if early genetic testing or newborn screening is made available more widely.

Keywords: CARE-NMD survey; Creatine kinase; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Early diagnosis; Genetic testing; Satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Europe
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / therapy*
  • Speech Therapy / methods