Muscular dystrophies in literature, cinema and television
Introduction. Muscular dystrophies are inherited disorders, produced by a genetic mutation, with a slow or rapid progression, that basically affect striated muscle tissue. There are several clinical forms, the most frequent being Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy.
Aim. To analyse how muscular dystrophies have been portrayed in literature, cinema and television.
Development. Muscular dystrophy is a disorder that has been reflected in literature, cinema and television. In some cases it is only mentioned, sometimes it plays a secondary role in the plot, and in others it is the lead character who suffers from the disease. In general, reference is made to Duchenne’s disease and, albeit less frequently, to Becker muscular dystrophy, although in some cases the patient is just said to be suffering from muscular dystrophy, without specifying what clinical variety it belongs to. Testimonials, novels, comics, fiction films, documentaries, short films and television programmes have all been produced with the aim of making the disease and its implications more widely known, as well as making the public aware of the need to invest resources in research.
Conclusions. Muscular dystrophy has been portrayed quite realistically in literature, cinema and television, and Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy is the clinical variety that has been shown most often. Aspects that have been reflected include its symptoms, progression, prognosis, the role of the family and caregivers, sexuality, palliative care, patients’ will to overcome difficulties and the need to raise society’s awareness of the condition and to invest more resources in research.
Key words. Cinema. Literature. Muscular dystrophy. Neurology. Television.