As one of the region’s top neuromuscular programs, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare treats children who have a variety of disorders that impact their muscle function. Our Neuromuscular Clinic offers advanced treatments and supportive therapies to help minimize the effects of neuromuscular conditions.
Research plays an important role in our Neuromuscular Clinic, as well. Integrating research and clinical services helps us remain at the forefront of treatments that improve our patients’ health and quality of life. Just this week, we learned some exciting news: Gillette’s own Walter Truong, M.D., will receive a $50,000 grant from Families of SMA, an organization dedicated to funding research in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) treatment and care.
SMA is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness and decreased muscle mass (atrophy). As a result, it can impede activities such as crawling, walking, and eating. Because of their muscle weakness, children who have SMA often cannot stand independently and use stander devices as a means of maintaining bone health. Dr. Truong’s research will measure the effectiveness of standers, which are often incorporated into therapy programs for children who have SMA, in improving bone strength, preventing fractures, and improving quality of life.
During the study, a small group of Gillette patients will gradually increase the amount of time they spend in a stander device over a year. Regular scans will measure growth in the children’s bone strength resulting from increased standing time. The results, along with a future larger study slated to include hundreds of children from throughout the U.S., will help determine whether more standing makes bones stronger and whether this can decrease the number of fractures in children with SMA.
Congratulations to Dr. Truong and Gillette’s entire Neuromuscular Clinic team on this exciting announcement! Click here to learn more about Dr. Truong’s research.