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Fatigue in young people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
  • Basmah El-Aloul, Western University
  • Kathy N Speechley, Western University
  • Yi Wei, Western University
  • Piotr Wilk, Western University
  • Craig Campbell, University of Western Ontario
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AIM: To describe fatigue in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) from patients' and parents' perspectives and to explore risk factors for fatigue in children and adolescents with DMD.

METHOD: A multicentre, cross-sectional study design was used. Seventy-one patients (all males; median age 12y, age range 5-17y) identified via the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry, and their parents completed questionnaires. Subjective fatigue was assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Multidimensional Fatigue Scale by child self-report and parent proxy-report.

RESULTS: Patients with DMD across ages and disease stages experienced greater fatigue compared to typically developing controls from published data. Sleep disturbance symptoms were associated with greater fatigue by child self-report (ρ=-0.42; p=0.003) and parent proxy-report (ρ=-0.51; p

INTERPRETATION: In paediatric DMD, sleep disturbance symptoms and depressive symptoms are potentially modifiable factors associated with fatigue, warranting additional investigation to facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies to reduce fatigue.

WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Fatigue is a major issue in paediatric Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) across ages and disease stages. Sleep disturbance and depressive symptoms are significantly associated with fatigue in paediatric DMD.


This article was first published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology at

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Basmah El-Aloul, Kathy N Speechley, Yi Wei, Piotr Wilk, et al.. "Fatigue in young people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy" Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology Vol. 62 Iss. 2 (2020) p. 245 - 251
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