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Minnesota newborns will now be screened for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Morning headlines from Jan. 26, 2024
Morning headlines from Jan. 26, 2024 02:58

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday announced that it will add Duchenne muscular dystrophy to the list of conditions for which Minnesota newborns are typically screened. 

DMD is the most common form of muscular dystrophy. The condition is usually not diagnosed until age 5, at which point skeletal muscles are already damaged and there are limited options for treatments, MDH says.

It is typically found in boys, though females can be genetic carriers. The life expectancy for men with DMD is around 20 years of age.

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"Being able to detect life-altering conditions, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, through newborn screening means families can be connected to early interventions and treatment that can not only improve a child's quality of life, but also save lives," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham.

MDH says adding the condition to the screening list will allow families to connect with specialists and tailor care from a young age. Disease-modifying treatments are available for 30% of affected newborns.

MDH estimates nine newborns will be detected for DMD each year.

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