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Background: Little knowledge exists on the availability of academic and community paediatric neurology positions. This knowledge is crucial for making workforce decisions. Our study aimed to: 1) obtain information regarding the availability of positions for paediatric neurologists in academic centres; 2) survey paediatric neurology trainees regarding their perceptions of employment issues and career plans; 3) survey practicing community paediatric neurologists 4) convene a group of paediatric neurologists to develop consensus regarding how to address these workforce issues. Methods: Surveys addressing workforce issues regarding paediatric neurology in Canada were sent to: 1) all paediatric neurology program directors in Canada (n=9) who then solicited information from division heads and from paediatric neurologists in surrounding areas; 2) paediatric neurology trainees in Canada (n=57) and; 3) community paediatric neurologists (n=27). A meeting was held with relevant stakeholders to develop a consensus on how to approach employment issues. Results: The response rate was 100% from program directors, 57.9% from residents and 44% from community paediatric neurologists. We found that the number of projected positions in academic paediatric neurology is fewer than the number of paediatric neurologists that are being trained over the next five to ten years, despite a clinical need for paediatric neurologists. Paediatric neurology residents are concerned about job availability and desire more career counselling. Conclusions: There is a current and projected clinical demand for paediatric neurologists despite a lack of academic positions. Training programs should focus on community neurology as a viable career option.
Patient registries represent an important method of organizing “real world” patient information for clinical and research purposes. Registries can facilitate clinical trial planning and recruitment and are particularly useful in this regard for uncommon and rare diseases. Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) are individually rare but in aggregate have a significant prevalence. In Canada, information on NMDs is lacking. Barriers to performing Canadian multicentre NMD research exist which can be overcome by a comprehensive and collaborative NMD registry.
We describe the objectives, design, feasibility and initial recruitment results for the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR).
The CNDR is a clinic-based registry which launched nationally in June 2011, incorporates paediatric and adult neuromuscular clinics in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, as of December 2012, has recruited 1161 patients from 12 provinces and territories. Complete medical datasets have been captured on 460 “index disease” patients. Another 618 “non-index” patients have been recruited with capture of physician-confirmed diagnosis and contact information. We have demonstrated the feasibility of blended clinic and central office-based recruitment. “Index disease” patients recruited at the time of writing include 253 with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, 161 with myotonic dystrophy, and 71 with ALS.
The CNDR is a new nationwide registry of patients with NMDs that represents an important advance in Canadian neuromuscular disease research capacity. It provides an innovative platform for organizing patient information to facilitate clinical research and to expedite translation of recent laboratory findings into human studies.
We carried out a population-based study of dystrophin mutations in patients followed by members of the Canadian Paediatric Neuromuscular Group (CPNG) over a ten-year period.
We aimed to describe the changes in diagnostic testing for dystrophinopathy and to determine the frequency of dystrophin mutations from 2000 to 2009.
De-identified data containing the clinical phenotypes, diagnostic methods, and mutational reports from dystrophinopathy patients followed by CPNG centres from January 2000 to December 2009 were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
773 patients had a confirmed diagnosis of dystrophinopathy based on genetic testing (97%), muscle biopsy (2%), or family history (1%). 573 (74%) had complete deletion/duplication analysis of all 79 exons or whole gene sequencing, resulting in 366 (64%) deletions, 64 (11%) duplications, and 143 (25%) point mutations. The percentage of patients who were diagnosed using currently accepted genetic testing methods varied across Canada, with a mean of 63% (SD 23). 246 (43%) mutations involved exons 45 to 53. The top ten deletions (n=147, 26%) were exons 45-47, 45-48, 45, 45-50, 45-55, 51, 45-49, 45-52, 49-50, and 46-47. 169 (29%) mutations involved exons 2 to 20. The most common duplications (n=29, 5.1%) were exons 2, 2-7, 2-17, 3-7, 8-11, 10, 10-11, and 12.
This is the most comprehensive report of dystrophin mutations in Canada. Consensus guidelines regarding the diagnostic approach to dystrophinopathy will hopefully reduce the geographical variation in mutation detection rates in the coming decade.
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