London Neurologist

Muscular Dystrophy Specialist

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophies (MD) are a group of genetic conditions that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. These conditions manifest differently, with some appearing in childhood and others in adulthood. Navigating MD requires the expertise of a multidisciplinary team led by specialists like Prof. Michael Hanna, who provide tailored care and guidance.

Prof. Hanna’s role is pivotal in devising personalised treatment plans, managing symptoms, and enhancing the quality of life for those affected. Through his expertise, patients find a compass for their journey, ensuring a comprehensive approach to living with MD.

What causes Muscular Dystrophy?

MD is caused by mutations in genes that are responsible for both the structure and function of muscles. These mutations cause changes in muscle fibres, interfering with their ability to function. Over time, this will cause increasing levels of disability.

The mutations can be inherited from parents. Where appropriate, genetic testing is possible in order to evaluate your risk of developing MD or passing it onto your own children.

Such insights can guide individuals and families in managing risks and making informed decisions regarding their health and future generations, providing a proactive approach to grappling with the complexities of MD.

Types of Muscular Dystrophy

There are many different types of muscular dystrophy, each with differing symptoms. Some do not cause severe disability or affect life expectancy.

The more common types of MD include:

Duchenne MD – one of the most common and severe, this can be carried by girls but mainly affects boys during early childhood. People with this condition commonly only live into their 20s or 30s. Symptoms can include:

  • Frequent falling
  • Difficulty getting up from sitting or lying
  • Problems running and jumping
  • Walking on tip toes
  • A waddling gait
  • Large calf muscles
  • Muscle pain and/or stiffness
  • Learning difficulties
  • Delayed growth

Becker MD – this form of muscular dystrophy has similar symptoms and signs to Duchenne MD, but they are milder and progress more slowly. Symptoms generally begin in the teen years but can start as late as the mid 20s.

Myotonic dystrophy – this type of muscular dystrophy can develop at any age and is characterised by an inability to relax muscles, followed by contractions. Face and neck muscles are usually the first to be affected. Life expectancy is not commonly affected, but those with a severe form of myotonic dystrophy may have shorter lives.

Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) – this type of muscular dystrophy typically begins with muscle weakness in the face, shoulders and hip. It can develop in childhood or adulthood and progresses slowly. It is not usually life-threatening.

Limb-Girdle – This type of muscular dystrophy usually affects the hip and shoulder muscles first. People with this condition may have difficulty lifting the front part of the foot and, therefore, trip frequently. Symptoms usually present during late childhood or early adulthood. 

Oculopharyngeal – This type of muscular dystrophy does not usually develop until a person is 50-60 years old. Typically, it does not affect life expectancy.

Emery-Dreifuss MD – This is a rare type of slowly progressive muscular dystrophy that affects the muscles of the arms, legs, face, neck, spine and heart. It develops in childhood or early adulthood and most people with the condition will live until at least middle age.

Appointments and more information

Professor Michael Hanna stands at the forefront of neurological science as an internationally recognised expert on muscle-wasting neurological conditions. His extensive body of work encompasses more than 400 research publications, delving into neuromuscular diseases, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disorders, channelopathies, inclusion body myositis, myasthenia gravis, and motor neurone disease, marking significant contributions to the field’s advancing knowledge.

Should you find yourself navigating concerns regarding symptoms or seeking expert consultation on your muscular dystrophy diagnosis and treatment options, Professor Hanna’s office is your point of contact for professional guidance. Tailored appointments to suit your path to wellness are readily organised, with the flexibility of accessing care through the NHS or privately.

NHS Appointments

A letter of referral is required from your GP or NHS Practitioner. Referrals should be sent to my NHS Office.

NHS Office Address:
Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Queen Square
NHS Office Enquiries
Tel: 020 3448 8014/8251
Fax: 020 3448 3633

Private Appointments:

A letter of referral may be required for private patients who have Private Medical Insurance (PMI). Self-paying patients can self-refer.

Private Office Address:
The Private Consulting Rooms
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Queen Square
Private Office Appointments and Enquiries
Tel: 020 3448 8935
Fax: 020 3448 8816

Please view the Terms & Conditions for more information.