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Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Mar;33(2):302-11. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2011.11.016. Epub 2011 Nov 26.

If you build a rare disease registry, will they enroll and will they use it? Methods and data from the National Registry of Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) and Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD).

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Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Registries are becoming increasingly important for rare diseases as experimental therapies develop. This report describes the methodology behind the National Registry of Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) and Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) Patients and Family Members to facilitate the development of other rare disease registries. We also highlight data about the pathophysiology and select burdens of DM and FSHD reported at baseline and longitudinally.


The Registry consists of de-identified, patient reported information collected at baseline and annually and information from review of medical records. Investigators can use the Registry to analyze de-identified data and to facilitate recruitment into clinical studies.


To date, the Registry has enrolled 1611 members, facilitated 24 studies, and collected data annually for up to 8 years. Genetic test results were obtained in 56.2% of enrollees. Approximately one-third of members used assistive devices and another one-third reported psychological problems at baseline. Wheelchair use was reported for both short and long distances by 7.0% of DM and 18.1% of FSHD members. Approximately 60% of members reported their employment was affected by their disease.


Strengths of the Registry include large sample sizes, stringent review of clinical and molecular data, annually updated information, and regular interactions between patients and investigators. Registry data provide new insights into the burdens of DM and FSHD, such as, psychological problems and reduced employment. Opportunities abound for investigators to utilize Registry resources to assess the impact of these and other burdens on health care costs, progression of symptoms, and quality of life.

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