An association of Australian sports medicine doctors says it is concerned about a trend of muscle dystrophosis affecting athletes.
Key points:A recent study found up to two-thirds of athletes have the condition and it can be fatalThe Australian National Paralympic Committee said there was not enough research to prove whether there was a link between the condition or a common diseaseThe ACLJ has also said it wants to see a better understanding of why some people do not recover as quickly as others.
Key Points:A study published in the Lancet on Wednesday found up for two-quarters of athletes had the condition.
Key point:There is not enough evidence to prove if there is a link to a common type of muscle diseaseThe study suggested that the condition could be linked to a lower level of lunges strength, and there was no definitive evidence that it was caused by a common muscle disease.
It is the second time the ACLJ and ACLJ Australasia have taken a stance on muscle dystrophies, following the publication of a joint statement on the condition in April.
“I think there’s no doubt the number of Australians who are at risk of having this condition is going to be growing,” ACLJ general manager Peter Taylor said at the time.
“It’s really important that we have research that shows how it’s possible to recover so that we can be better equipped for athletes and for coaches to have an understanding of the condition.”‘
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve been told I could be at risk for’While there was some progress made over the past few years, the ACLJs statement said the condition remained under-studied and “has never been formally linked to any known disease.”
“As well as the limited research available, there’s a lack of awareness and the lack of data on the disease itself, so we don’t know whether it’s a one-off or a trend that’s going to continue to develop,” ACLJs general manager Chris Loughnane said.
“The fact that we’re seeing the number increase and the trend increase in our practice shows that this is a really significant problem.”
Loughnanes statement said research was ongoing to establish the causal relationship between the conditions and a common, but rare, disease.
“While there is no conclusive evidence that there is anything specific to the condition that causes it, we do know that it’s one of the rare diseases that occurs when the muscle in the thigh or hip area is not able to properly relax,” he said.
The ACLJs said they believed there were several factors that contributed to the increase in the number, and some were linked to other factors.
“There are a number of potential factors including: the fact that more women are competing and more women have been competing, more people are competing in more sports and more sports are competitive, and this can have a lot of impact on muscle strength,” ACLJC general manager Andrew Taylor said.
Mr Loughns statement said there were also a number who were affected by a “lungs disease”, but did not think there was enough evidence for a link.
“However, it is important to remember that there are a lot more women in the world than there are men and women are less likely to be affected by lunges disease, and that could mean that women have a higher incidence of the disease than men,” he added.
“Anecdotally, there is more women who are competing than men, and the women are more likely to develop lunges symptoms.”
Mr Taylor said he was hopeful that research into the condition would lead to better diagnostic tests, as well as better understanding how to best diagnose and treat it.
“We don’t yet have a diagnosis or a treatment for the condition, but we do have an awareness that we need to address this in our sport and the wider community,” he explained.
“And we’re hoping that our research will lead to some sort of better diagnosis and treatment for this.”
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