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Contemporary Clinic ® interviewed Donald Wood, PhD, the recently elected president and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, on how care for patients with muscular dystrophy has evolved over the past several decades.
Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Donald Wood, PhD, the recently elected president and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, on muscular dystrophy research and care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
During the discussion, Wood addressed how care for patients with muscular dystrophy has evolved over time. Specifically, Wood noted that care for patients has not just changed, but has been revolutionized over the past several decades.
“When I first started my research, there was basically no treatments whatsoever for any of the 40 neuromuscular diseases. Today, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many treatments there are,” Wood said. “We trained physicians who had never treated neuromuscular disease before.”
Wood explained that the ability to train physicians was made possible due to the development of treatments for neuromuscular disease, which, for many of these physicians during their time in medical school, was not something they were taught could be done.
“There was a time, not so long ago, maybe 40 to 50 years ago, when the medical community was taught in medical school that you weren’t going to be able to treat a patient with a genetic disease. Why? Because there were no treatments,” Wood said.
Researchers in the field were able to eventually identify drug treatments that would make life for patients with neuromuscular disease a bit easier. Overtime, as more and more medical professionals were trained, more treatments and diagnostic tests were identified in order to help patients get both diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
“The earlier you identify where problems are, the more opportunity you have to treat those problems and make life better for patients. And that has occurred over time,” Wood said. “Now we have patients who are living into adulthood, and that’s because of not just the science and research, but because we have trained medical professionals and attracted superior physicians into this field.”