Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Muscular Dystrophy on 10th March 1987.
Mr. Ashley Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average life expectancy of children with muscular dystrophy.
Mr. Major Muscular dystrophy is not a single disorder and the various types are differentiated by mode of inheritance, age of onset, distribution of weakness and rate of deterioration. While in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the commonest, death usually occurs from respiratory infection by the age of 20, and in Becker muscular dystrophy death is likely in middle age, average life expectancy does not provide a prognosis in the individual case. There are five other, even less common forms of muscular dystrophy which may present in childhood.
Mr. Ashley Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children are currently suffering from muscular dystrophy; and if he has been given any information on the proportion of these whose arms are too weak for them to propel their own wheelchair.
Mr. Major There is no exact information on the number of children currently suffering from muscular dystrophy. There are probably 1,300 to 1,500 boys and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in England and Wales. By the age of 10-12 most sufferers are using a wheelchair. No information is available as to the proportion of children with muscular dystrophy who are unable to propel their own wheelchairs.