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1.  Timed Rise from Floor as a Predictor of Disease Progression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: An Observational Study 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0151445.
Background
The role of timed items, and more specifically, of the time to rise from the floor, has been reported as an early prognostic factor for disease progression and loss of ambulation. The aim of our study was to investigate the possible effect of the time to rise from the floor test on the changes observed on the 6MWT over 12 months in a cohort of ambulant Duchenne boys.
Subjects and methods
A total of 487 12-month data points were collected from 215 ambulant Duchenne boys. The age ranged between 5.0 and 20.0 years (mean 8.48 ±2.48 DS).
Results
The results of the time to rise from the floor at baseline ranged from 1.2 to 29.4 seconds in the boys who could perform the test. 49 patients were unable to perform the test at baseline and 87 at 12 month The 6MWT values ranged from 82 to 567 meters at baseline. 3 patients lost the ability to perform the 6mwt at 12 months. The correlation between time to rise from the floor and 6MWT at baseline was high (r = 0.6, p<0.01).
Conclusions
Both time to rise from the floor and baseline 6MWT were relevant for predicting 6MWT changes in the group above the age of 7 years, with no interaction between the two measures, as the impact of time to rise from the floor on 6MWT change was similar in the patients below and above 350 m. Our results suggest that, time to rise from the floor can be considered an additional important prognostic factor of 12 month changes on the 6MWT and, more generally, of disease progression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151445
PMCID: PMC4794120  PMID: 26982196
3.  Benefits of glucocorticoids in non-ambulant boys/men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: A multicentric longitudinal study using the Performance of Upper Limb test 
Neuromuscular Disorders  2015;25(10):749-753.
Highlights
•The paper reports the effect of steroids on upper limb function in non ambulant DMD boys.•Boys continuing steroids after loss of ambulation perform better than those who stopped at the time of loss of ambulation.•The Performance of Upper Limb test can reliably capture change over time and the effect of intervention.
The aim of this study was to establish the possible effect of glucocorticoid treatment on upper limb function in a cohort of 91 non-ambulant DMD boys and adults of age between 11 and 26 years.
All 91 were assessed using the Performance of Upper Limb test. Forty-eight were still on glucocorticoid after loss of ambulation, 25 stopped steroids at the time they lost ambulation and 18 were GC naïve or had steroids while ambulant for less than a year.
At baseline the total scores ranged between 0 and 74 (mean 41.20). The mean total scores were 47.92 in the glucocorticoid group, 36 in those who stopped at loss of ambulation and 30.5 in the naïve group (p < 0.001).
The 12-month changes ranged between −20 and 4 (mean −4.4). The mean changes were −3.79 in the glucocorticoid group, −5.52 in those who stopped at loss of ambulation and −4.44 in the naïve group. This was more obvious in the patients between 12 and 18 years and at shoulder and elbow levels.
Our findings suggest that continuing glucocorticoids throughout teenage years and adulthood after loss of ambulation appears to have a beneficial effect on upper limb function.
doi:10.1016/j.nmd.2015.07.009
PMCID: PMC4597096  PMID: 26248957
Upper limb; Glucocorticoids; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Non ambulant; PUL
4.  The 6 Minute Walk Test and Performance of Upper Limb in Ambulant Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Boys 
PLoS Currents  2014;6:ecurrents.md.a93d9904d57dcb08936f2ea89bca6fe6.
The Performance of Upper Limb (PUL) test was specifically developed for the assessment of upper limbs in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The first published data have shown that early signs of involvement can also be found in ambulant DMD boys. The aim of this longitudinal Italian multicentric study was to evaluate the correlation between the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and the PUL in ambulant DMD boys. Both 6MWT and PUL were administered to 164 ambulant DMD boys of age between 5.0 and 16.17 years (mean 8.82). The 6 minute walk distance (6MWD) ranged between 118 and 557 (mean: 376.38, SD: 90.59). The PUL total scores ranged between 52 and 74 (mean: 70.74, SD: 4.66). The correlation between the two measures was 0.499. The scores on the PUL largely reflect the overall impairment observed on the 6MWT but the correlation was not linear. The use of the PUL appeared to be less relevant in the very strong patients with 6MWD above 400 meters, who, with few exceptions had near full scores. In patients with lower 6MWD the severity of upper limb involvement was more variable and could not always be predicted by the 6MWD value or by the use of steroids. Our results confirm that upper limb involvement can already be found in DMD boys even in the ambulant phase.
doi:10.1371/currents.md.a93d9904d57dcb08936f2ea89bca6fe6
PMCID: PMC4208936  PMID: 25642376
5.  Long Term Natural History Data in Ambulant Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: 36-Month Changes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108205.
The 6 minute walk test has been recently chosen as the primary outcome measure in international multicenter clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy ambulant patients. The aim of the study was to assess the spectrum of changes at 3 years in the individual measures, their correlation with steroid treatment, age and 6 minute walk test values at baseline. Ninety-six patients from 11 centers were assessed at baseline and 12, 24 and 36 months after baseline using the 6 minute walk test and the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. Three boys (3%) lost the ability to perform the 6 minute walk test within 12 months, another 13 between 12 and 24 months (14%) and 11 between 24 and 36 months (12%). The 6 minute walk test showed an average overall decline of −15.8 (SD 77.3) m at 12 months, of −58.9 (SD 125.7) m at 24 months and −104.22 (SD 146.2) m at 36 months. The changes were significantly different in the two baseline age groups and according to the baseline 6 minute walk test values (below and above 350 m) (p<0.001). The changes were also significantly different according to steroid treatment (p = 0.01). Similar findings were found for the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. These are the first 36 month longitudinal data using the 6 minute walk test and North Star Ambulatory Assessment in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Our findings will help not only to have a better idea of the progression of the disorder but also provide reference data that can be used to compare with the results of the long term extension studies that are becoming available.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108205
PMCID: PMC4182715  PMID: 25271887
6.  6 Minute Walk Test in Duchenne MD Patients with Different Mutations: 12 Month Changes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83400.
Objective
In the last few years some of the therapeutical approaches for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) are specifically targeting distinct groups of mutations, such as deletions eligible for skipping of individual exons. The aim of this observational study was to establish whether patients with distinct groups of mutations have different profiles of changes on the 6 minute walk test (6MWT) over a 12 month period.
Methods
The 6MWT was performed in 191 ambulant DMD boys at baseline and 12 months later. The results were analysed using a test for heterogeneity in order to establish possible differences among different types of mutations (deletions, duplications, point mutations) and among subgroups of deletions eligible to skip individual exons.
Results
At baseline the 6MWD ranged between 180 and 560,80 metres (mean 378,06, SD 74,13). The 12 month changes ranged between −325 and 175 (mean −10.8 meters, SD 69.2). Although boys with duplications had better results than those with the other types of mutations, the difference was not significant.
Similarly, boys eligible for skipping of the exon 44 had better baseline results and less drastic changes than those eligible for skipping exon 45 or 53, but the difference was not significant.
Conclusions
even if there are some differences among subgroups, the mean 12 month changes in each subgroup were all within a narrow Range: from the mean of the whole DMD cohort. This information will be of help at the time of designing clinical trials with small numbers of eligible patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083400
PMCID: PMC3885414  PMID: 24421885
8.  24 Month Longitudinal Data in Ambulant Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52512.
Objectives
The aim of the study was i) to assess the spectrum of changes over 24 months in ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ii) to establish the difference between the first and the second year results and iii) to identify possible early markers of loss of ambulation.
Methods
One hundred and thirteen patients (age range 4.1–17, mean 8.2) fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 67 of the 113 were on daily and 40 on intermittent steroids, while 6 were not on steroids. All were assessed using the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT), the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) and timed test.
Results
On the 6MWT there was an average overall decline of −22.7 (SD 81.0) in the first year and of −64.7 (SD 123.1) in the second year. On the NSAA the average overall decline was of −1.86 (SD 4.21) in the first year and of −2.98 (SD 5.19) in the second year. Fourteen children lost ambulation, one in the first year and the other 13 in the second year of the study. A distance of at least 330 meters on the 6MWT, or a NSAA score of 18 at baseline reduced significantly the risk of losing ambulation within 2 years.
Conclusions
These results can be of help at the time of using inclusion criteria for a study in ambulant patients in order to minimize the risk of patients who may lose ambulation within the time of the trial.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052512
PMCID: PMC3543414  PMID: 23326337
9.  Quantitative muscle strength assessment in duchenne muscular dystrophy: longitudinal study and correlation with functional measures 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:91.
Background
The aim of this study was to perform a longitudinal assessment using Quantitative Muscle Testing (QMT) in a cohort of ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and to correlate the results of QMT with functional measures. This study is to date the most thorough long-term evaluation of QMT in a cohort of DMD patients correlated with other measures, such as the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) or thee 6-min walk test (6MWT).
Methods
This is a single centre, prospective, non-randomised, study assessing QMT using the Kin Com® 125 machine in a study cohort of 28 ambulant DMD boys, aged 5 to 12 years. This cohort was assessed longitudinally over a 12 months period of time with 3 monthly assessments for QMT and with assessment of functional abilities, using the NSAA and the 6MWT at baseline and at 12 months only. QMT was also used in a control group of 13 healthy age-matched boys examined at baseline and at 12 months.
Results
There was an increase in QMT over 12 months in boys below the age of 7.5 years while in boys above the age of 7.5 years, QMT showed a significant decrease. All the average one-year changes were significantly different than those experienced by healthy controls. We also found a good correlation between quantitative tests and the other measures that was more obvious in the stronger children.
Conclusion
Our longitudinal data using QMT in a cohort of DMD patients suggest that this could be used as an additional tool to monitor changes, providing additional information on segmental strength.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-91
PMCID: PMC3482602  PMID: 22974002

Results 1-9 (9)