The class of illnesses we now classify as muscular dystrophy was first diagnosed in the 1860s. It's one of the diseases tending to affect only one gender, in this case men, but women are involved in the transmission process by carrying the relevant genes. So far, nine basic types have been identified but the common denominator is a slow loss of muscle cells and tissue. In about one-third of cases, there's also a mental breakdown. As an inherited disease, there's little or nothing that can be done to prevent the natural progression of the disease. At our current level of medical science, we cannot repair a broken genetic sequence. All we can do is offer a management regime which maintains muscle tone for as long as possible. Against this sad background, we come to some more encouraging news from the Journal of Science Translational Medicine.
Before we go into the detail of this report, we need a brief discussion of how reliable the findings of any research can be. It all comes down to problems of scale. If the research involves too small a sample of people, there's no statistical basis for generalizing the results. All you can say is that, in this small trial, you achieved this result. But if the research looks at a large number of people, this is more representative of the population at large so what you find in the research group is more likely to be what you find if you extend the treatment to the general population. This is a very small sample trial held at a University in Los Angeles and so it's only of interest. Why even bother to mention it? Well, it's the apparent effectiveness that catches the eye.
We're looking at Becker muscular dystrophy which usually affects boys and teens. Most of those affected lose the use of their legs during their twenties so this is a particularly distressing condition. Thankfully, it's quite rare. The trial involved only nine participants who received the active drug, but eight showed an almost immediate improvement in the flow of blood after only a single dose. How does this happen? Although the drug targets PDE5 which is particular to the penile artery, the effects are felt throughout the arterial system. That's why a version of the erectile dysfunction drugs is used to treat constriction of the blood vessels in the chest and lungs. Cialis enables the muscles in the arterial walls to get proper access to nitric oxide which triggers dilation, reduces blood pressure, and eases the flow of blood around the body. When this happens, more oxygenated blood arrives in the muscles and improves their performance. At the very least, these findings should launch a full-scale trial with the maximum possible number of participants. If these findings are replicated, the longer-lasting Cialis would become a welcome addition to the treatment regime for this unfortunate disease.