Here is a recent study of issues with congenital and childhood myotonic dystrophy. It seems pretty comprehensive and has a lot of good information. The summary is below followed by the link to the full study. The study does not also provide information on the link to autism or autism spectrum disorders that many of the children have. The study does not go into depth on the adult form of the disease that follows as the children age and go through puberty. But a good basic review.
“In neonates and children, DM1 predominantly affects muscle strength, cognition, respiratory, central nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Sleep disorders are often under recognized yet a significant morbidity. No effective disease modifying treatment is currently available and neonates and children with DM1 may experience severe physical and intellectual disability, which may be life limiting in the most severe forms. Management is currently supportive, incorporating regular surveillance and treatment of manifestations. Novel therapies, which target the gene and the pathogenic mechanism of abnormal splicing are emerging. Genetic counseling is critical in this autosomal dominant genetic disease with variable penetrance and potential maternal anticipation,as is assisting with family planning and undertakingcascade testing to instigate health surveillance in affected family members.”
BELOW click on hyperlink for full study in PDF form.
A not well know secondary effect of a drug that Biogen and Isis are jointly developing may reverse some or all the effects of a specific single gene type of autism. This drug will be entering Human Trials in 2014 if all goes well. In August Biogen and Isis announced a collaboration on a drug that looks extremely promising to treat a form of muscular dystrophy, Myotonic Dystrophy. But it may also reverse the symptoms of autism that occurs in some not well known forms of myotonic dystrophy in children. This could be a sleeper drug that may help with this larger and more pervasive societal problem.
A new study from France gives some additional information for children that have myotonic Dystrophy. While not as comprehensive and the studies done in Sweden this gives good basic information on the condition. This information is very help to set up IEP goals and to know what issues for parents and professionals to expect. The study did not specifically mention Autism but many of the items described would be considered autistic in the USA
CONCLUSION: Children and adolescents with childhood DM1 have frequent diagnosis on the DSM-IV axis 1 with internalizing disorders being the most common type of disorder. They also have borderline low intelligence and frequent impairments in attention and visual-spatial construction abilities.
Many of us in the Myotonic Dystrophy World find that among the most significant factors affecting us are related to brain function. Depression, Lack of Motivation, Apathy, Indifference, and Loss of executive function makes living much less tolerable. In a nutshell these changes create Terrible problems socially and emotionally. Now researchers have identified the issue that they think causes the disease. The good news is that the mechanism for the brain looks like the mechanism for many of the other issues as well. It’s the same as for muscle and other tissues. So if a cure is found in the future it will not just help with heart and muscle it may help with the most devastating issues that of the Brain as well. At the Recent MDF conference in San Fransisco one potential therapy in early stages may work not only in muscle but if injected into the Spinal fluid might help with brain issues.