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Specific nutritional, physical activity guidelines recommended for Becker muscular dystrophy patients

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Explicit and specific nutritional guidelines and physical activity recommendations are needed for patients with Becker muscular dystrophy, given that fat mass levels are higher in these patients than in healthy individuals, a new study reports.

For the study, 21 males diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy were recruited. Of these, nine were ambulatory while 12 needed wheelchairs in order to walk. Males in this group were between the ages of 18 and 60 years.

Simultaneously, a parallel group of 12 males without Becker muscular dystrophy, aged between 21 and 57 years, was established as controls.

Prior to the testing sessions, participants were instructed to fast for 12 hours, avoid caffeine and refrain from engaging in strenuous exercise. In order to control for the non-ambulatory participants, all measurements were performed while sitting down.

First, anthropometric measurements and bioelectrical impedance were performed. Measurements were done on a point-to-point basis and with the use of the appropriate measuring equipment to account for the non-ambulatory participants. Necessary adjustments were carried out. Bioelectrical impedance was used to measure fat mass and fat-free mass.

Indirect calorimetry with a breath-by-breath gas analysis system was then used to measure the resting energy expenditure. Subsequently, ultrasound was performed to measure the cross-sectional area of the Tibialis Anterior and Gastrocnemius Medialis of the participants.

Finally, physical activity was evaluated using the Bone Specific Physical Activity questionnaire.

Analyses found no significant difference in the resting energy expenditure between controls and Becker muscular dystrophy patients (1,913±203 vs 1,786±324 kcal, respectively).

However, patients with Becker muscular dystrophy showed a 54-percent higher fat mass, 25-percent higher cross-sectional area of the Gastrocnemius Medialis, 42-percent lower cross-sectional area of the Tibialis Anterior, 28-percent lower forced vital capacity, and 27-percent lower forced expiratory volume in the first second.

The findings show that, while there is no observable difference in the resting energy expenditure between controls and patients with Becker muscular dystrophy, there are sufficient physiological differences.

Therefore, this study supports the recommendation of specific nutrition and physical activity guidelines for patients.

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