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The myology revolution 

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Peeling an apple. Lifting your arms. Walking. Smiling. Breathing. These routine actions use muscles and we accomplish them without thinking. But with neuromuscular diseases, the muscles are attacked and movement is prevented. In order to better treat them, AFM-Telethon wants to make myology a separate discipline. 

Muscles are essential to life

When we think about muscles, we often think about the muscles that enable us to make movements, but there are other muscles such as the heart, the diaphragm (the breathing muscle) and the smooth muscles (the intestines or the bladder for example), which are essential to daily life. Without muscles we cannot move, eat, speak, stand up straight, communicate... or live! The good health of our muscles is therefore a public health issue for 100% of the population.  

Myology (from the ancient Greek “muos” meaning muscle) is the scientific and medical study of muscles. It applies to the muscle in all its forms: healthy, diseased, injured, trained, ageing...   

There are many different neuromuscular diseases. There are 400 of them, affecting the muscle, its innervation, its metabolism, and they can alter movement, breathing and cardiac function. They are mostly genetic but some are auto-immune or inflammatory.     

In order to be able to cure neuromuscular diseases, AFM-Telethon has for a long time been exploring the field of myology to better understand how muscles work and to identify therapeutic avenues.   

In 1996, AFM-Telethon created the Institute of Myology, a center of excellence on muscles and muscular disorders to promote the existence and recognition of Myology by bringing together basic and applied research, clinical research, evaluation, treatment, and training in the same location.

Myology, the lynchpin of innovation

The Institute of Myology, through its multidisciplinary approach and its expertise in translational research on the muscle and muscular disorders, has become a world leader in Myology. It helps further progress in knowledge of biology, genetics and physiopathology of the muscle and of muscle disorders, as well as helping with the emergence of innovative therapies for neuromuscular diseases.  

Myology is an accelerator of innovations for:   

  • Neuromuscular diseases and other chronic diseases (diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancers)  

  • Ageing: good muscle health is essential in the fight against loss of independence  

  • Trained muscles: injuries are the leading cause of missed training and competition for athletes   

Working towards a Myology foundation 

The ambition of AFM-Telethon today is to transform the Institute of Myology into a Foundation. Creating a Myology Foundation means helping make Myology a distinct discipline and strengthening the excellence and international standing of the Institute.  

The goals of the future myology foundation are as follows:  

  • To strengthen study of the muscle in all its forms, a true public health issue.  
  • To bring together care, basic and applied research, clinical research, evaluation of treatments and teaching, all at the highest level, at the same location, and to welcome new international teams.   
  • To make new discoveries on the muscle to benefit everyone.  

To find out more about our project ambitionfondationdemyologie

There are over 600 muscles in our body (45% of its weight).  
The heart is a muscle that contracts over 2.5 billion times in a lifetime.   
The diaphragm - essential for our breathing - contracts 24,000 times a day.   
Our head and neck contain 170 muscles, our torso 200, and each of our limbs 50.   
To move our hand we use 40 muscles.   
And 43 facial muscles enable us to make 10,000 expressions.   
Are you smiling? you have just used 17 muscles.   
Without muscles we cannot move, eat, speak, stand up straight or communicate!