The purpose of this research program is to develop safe and effective treatments for hereditary neurological disorders. Specific research accomplishments in the past year include the following: : (1) Potential therapies are currently under development for two congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) subtypes: collagen VI-related muscular dystrophy (COL6-RD) and laminin alpha 2-related dystrophy (LAMA2-RD). However, appropriate clinical outcome measures to be used in clinical trials have not been validated in CMDs. We conducted a two-year pilot study to evaluate feasibility, reliability, and validity of various outcome measures, particularly the Motor Function Measure 32, in 33 subjects with COL6-RD and LAMA2-RD. In the first year, outcome measures tested included: Motor Function Measure 32 (MFM32), forced vital capacity (FVC) percent predicted sitting, myometry, goniometry, 10-meter walk, Egen Klassification 2, and PedsQL(TM) Generic and Neuromuscular Cores. In the second year, we added the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA), Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale (HFMS), timed functional tests, Measure of Activity Limitations (ACTIVLIM), Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test (QUEST), and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) fatigue subscale. The MFM32 showed strong inter-rater (0.92) and internal consistency (0.96) reliabilities. Concurrent validity for the MFM32 was supported by large correlations (range 0.623-0.936) with the following: FVC, NSAA, HFMS, timed functional tests, ACTIVLIM, and QUEST. Significant correlations of the MFM32 were also found with select myometry measurements, mainly of the proximal extremities and domains of the PedsQL(TM) scales focusing on physical health and neuromuscular disease. Goniometry measurements were less reliable. The Motor Function Measure is reliable and valid in the two specific subtypes of CMD evaluated, COL6-RD and LAMA2-RD. The NSAA is useful as a complementary outcome measure in ambulatory individuals. Preliminary concurrent validity of several other clinical outcome measures was also demonstrated for these subtypes. (2) We aimed to develop, validate, and evaluate a disease-specific outcome measure for spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA): the Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy Functional Rating Scale (SBMAFRS). We examined the Japanese version (SBMAFRS-J) in 80 Japanese SBMA subjects to evaluate its validity and reliability. We then assessed this scale longitudinally in 41 additional SBMA subjects. The English version (SBMAFRS-E) was also tested in 15 US subjects. The total score of the SBMAFRS-J was distributed normally without an extreme ceiling or floor effect. For SBMAFRS-J, the high intra- and inter-rater agreement was confirmed (intra-class correlation coefficients ICCs 0.910 and 0.797, respectively), and internal consistency was satisfactory (Cronbach's alpha 0.700-0.822). In addition, SBMAFRS-J demonstrated concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity, except for the respiratory subscale. The inter-rater reliability and internal consistency of SBMAFRS-E were also satisfactory. Longitudinally, SBMAFRS-J showed a higher sensitivity to disease progression than the existing clinical measures. In conclusion, we developed and validated a disease-specific functional rating scale for SBMA in both Japanese and English versions, although it needs to be re-assessed in interventional studies with a larger sample size including English speaking subjects. (3) To determine the safety and efficacy of a home-based functional exercise program in SBMA, subjects were randomly assigned to participate in 12 weeks of either functional exercises (intervention) or a stretching program (control). A total of 54 subjects enrolled, and 50 completed the study with 24 in the functional exercise group and 26 in the stretching control group. The primary outcome measure was the Adult Myopathy Assessment Tool (AMAT) total score, and secondary measures included total activity by accelerometry, muscle strength, balance, timed up and go, sit-to-stand test, health-related quality of life, creatine kinase, and insulin-like growth factor-1. Functional exercise was well tolerated but did not lead to significant group differences in the primary outcome measure or any of the secondary measures. The functional exercise did not produce significantly more adverse events than stretching, and was not perceived to be difficult. To determine whether a subset of the subjects may have benefited, we divided them into high and low functioning based on baseline AMAT scores and performed a post hoc subgroup analysis. Low-functioning individuals receiving the intervention increased AMAT functional subscale scores compared to the control group. Although these trial results indicate that functional exercise had no significant effect on total AMAT scores or on mobility, strength, balance, and quality of life, post hoc findings indicate that low-functioning men with SBMA may respond better to functional exercises, and this warrants further investigation with appropriate exercise intensity.

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Guber, Robert D; Kokkinis, Angela D; Schindler, Alice B et al. (2017) Patient-Identified Impact of Symptoms in Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy. Muscle Nerve :
Mankodi, Ami; Azzabou, Noura; Bulea, Thomas et al. (2017) Skeletal muscle water T2 as a biomarker of disease status and exercise effects in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neuromuscul Disord 27:705-714
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