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Regular cycling helps patients with myotonic dystrophy

Regular cycling helps patients with myotonic dystrophy

Regular exercise greatly improves mobility in patients with myotonic dystrophy, a disease that causes muscle degeneration, a McMaster-led study finds. (Shutterstock image) BY Fram Dinshaw,…

Monday, Apr 11

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Regular exercise greatly improves mobility in patients with myotonic dystrophy, a disease that causes muscle degeneration, a McMaster-led study finds. (Shutterstock image) BY Fram Dinshaw, Faculty of Health Sciences

Regular cycling can greatly improve mobility in patients with myotonic dystrophy (MD), a genetic disease that causes muscle degeneration, a study led by McMaster researchers finds.

Cycling for 35 minutes, three times a week, for 12 weeks led to a 32-per-cent increase in overall fitness in people with MD, senior author Mark Tarnopolsky says.

Patients who took part in the study also saw a 1.6-kilogram increase in their muscle mass and a two-per-cent reduction in body fat. They were also able to walk an extra 47 metres in six minutes, when tested by researchers at the end of the 12-week trial.

Tarnopolsky’s team recruited 11 patients with MD to examine how effective cycling was in restoring and maintaining their physical health. Researchers also studied the underlying molecular mechanisms through which exercise strengthens the skeletal muscles, which can be severely weakened by MD.

“Exercise really is medicine — we just need to get the message out,” says Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine.

“Myotonic dystrophy is a progressive condition that will impair your mobility and can put you in a wheelchair.” There is no cure for it and only regular exercise helps patients achieve better function, Tarnopolsky says.“MD itself is really a form of accelerated aging,” he saysThe study was recently published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation .Some MD patients are even advised by […]

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