The Neuromuscular Program strives to provide a diagnosis, improve care, outcome, and quality of life for patients suffering from disorders of nerve and muscle. Our program includes the Neuromuscular Clinic, the Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, the Motor Neuron Disease Clinic, and the EMG Laboratory.

As a team, we work together to diagnose your condition by evaluating numbness and weakness and determining if these symptoms are caused by diseases of nerve, neuromuscular junction, or muscle. We also conduct significant research to guide treatment decisions to the latest treatment options.

Clinical Specialties

The Neuromuscular Clinic focuses on peripheral neuropathies, disorders of the nerve-muscle junction, and disorders of muscle. The Muscular Dystrophy Clinic is sponsored by the MDA and addresses 40 disorders, including dystrophies and hereditary neuropathies. 

The Motor Neuron Disease Clinic is a MDA sponsored regional multidisciplinary care clinic that sees patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). The EMG laboratory has state of the art equipment and is used to help diagnose disorders of nerve and muscle. We also work with pathologists to interpret muscle biopsies.

Treatment & Testing

Many patients with neuromuscular disorders will have a test called an electrodiagnostic study. These tests allow doctors to see how well your nerves work and communicate with your muscles. Learn more about electrodiagnostic studies.

Types of Muscular Dystrophy and Neuromuscular Diseases

What are the different types of muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases that are characterized by weakness and wasting away of muscle tissue, with or without the breakdown of nerve tissue. There are nine types of muscular dystrophy, with each type involving an eventual loss of strength, increasing disability, and possible deformity.

The most well known of the muscular dystrophies is Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), followed by Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD).

Listed below are the nine different types of muscular dystrophy. Each type differs in the muscles affected, the age of onset, and its rate of progression. Some types are named for the affected muscles, including the following:


Age at onset

Symptoms, rate of progression, and life expectancy










adolescence to early adulthood

Symptoms are almost identical to Duchenne, but less severe; progresses more slowly than Duchenne; survival into middle age. As with Duchenne, disease is almost always limited to males.


Symptoms include general muscle weakness and possible joint deformities; disease progresses slowly; shortened life span.

2 to 6 years

Symptoms include general muscle weakness and wasting; affects pelvis, upper arms, and upper legs; eventually involves all voluntary muscles; survival beyond 20s is rare. Seen in boys only. Very rarely can affect woman, who have much milder symptoms and a better prognosis.

40 to 60 years

Symptoms include weakness and wasting of muscles of the hands, forearms, and lower legs; progression is slow; rarely leads to total incapacity.

childhood to early teens

Symptoms include weakness and wasting of shoulder, upper arm, and shin muscles; joint deformities are common; progression is slow; sudden death may occur from cardiac problems.

childhood to early adults

Symptoms include facial muscle weakness and weakness with some wasting of shoulders and upper arms; progression is slow with periods of rapid deterioration; life span may be many decades after onset.

late childhood to middle age

Symptoms include weakness and wasting, affecting shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle first; progression is slow; death is usually due to cardiopulmonary complications.

20 to 40 years

Symptoms include weakness of all muscle groups accompanied by delayed relaxation of muscles after contraction; affects face, feet, hands, and neck first; progression is slow, sometimes spanning 50 to 60 years.

40 to 70 years

Symptoms affect muscles of eyelids and throat causing weakening of throat muscles, which, in time, causes inability to swallow and emaciation from lack of food; progression is slow.

What are other neuromuscular diseases?

Spinal muscular atrophies:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or motor neuron disease

  • Infantile progressive spinal muscular atrophy

  • Intermediate spinal muscular atrophy

  • Juvenile spinal muscular atrophy

  • Adult spinal muscular atrophy

Inflammatory myopathies:

  • Dermatomyositis

  • Polymyositis

  • Inclusion body myositis

Diseases of peripheral nerve:

  • Charcot-Marie tooth disease

  • Dejerine-Sottas disease

  • Friedreich's ataxia

Diseases of the neuromuscular junction:

  • Myasthenia gravis

  • Lambert-Eaton syndrome

  • Botulism

Metabolic diseases of the muscle:

  • Acid maltase deficiency

  • Carnitine deficiency

  • Carnitine palmityl transferase deficiency

  • Debrancher enzyme deficiency

  • Lactate dehydrogenase deficiency

  • Mitochondrial myopathy

  • Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency

  • Phosphorylase deficiency

  • Phosphofructokinase deficiency

  • Phosphoglycerate kinase deficiency

Less common myopathies:

  • Central core disease

  • Hyperthyroid myopathy

  • Myotonia congenita

  • Myotubular myopathy

  • Nemaline myopathy

  • Paramyotonia congenita

  • Periodic paralysis-hypokalemic-hyperkalemic

Mark B. Bromberg, MD, PhD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Dr Mark Bromberg is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Utah. He received a doctoral degree in Neurophysiology from the University of Vermont and his medical degree and his neurology residency training from the University of Michigan. He also completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology and neuromuscular diseases at the University o... Read More

Russell J. Butterfield, MD, PhD

Russell Butterfield, MD, PhD received his PhD in mammalian genetics, and medical degree from the University of Illinois. He completed his residency training in pediatric neurology at the University of Utah in June 2009. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics, after completing a fellowship in neuromus... Read More


Muscular Dystrophy, Neurology, Neuromuscular Diseases, Pediatric Neurology


Clinical Neurosciences Center 801-213-3599
Eccles Primary Children’s Outpatient Services Building 801-213-3599
Shriners Hospital for Children
Pediatric Neurology

Summer Gibson, MD

Patient Rating:


4.8 out of 5

Dr. Gibson is a Utah native. She attended Rice University where she earned her BA in biology and then received her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. At that point she returned to Utah where she completed her residency training in Neurology, in her last year she was nominated a co-chief. During her residency she d... Read More

Nicholas Johnson, MD

Patient Rating:


4.5 out of 5

Nicholas Johnson, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Pathology at the University of Utah with a focus in inherited neuromuscular disorders. He received his undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology at The University of Arizona. He then obtained his medical degree at The University of Arizona. He ... Read More

Mark A. Mahan, MD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Dr. Mahan specializes in complex peripheral nerve surgery, spine surgery and neurologic reconstruction for diseases such as spasticity, spinal cord injury, nerve injury and stroke. Dr. Mark Mahan is a neurosurgeon who specializes in peripheral nerve and spinal disorders. He completed his residency at the internationally recognized Barrow Neurologi... Read More

Patrick D. Nicholson, MD

Patrick Nicholson, MD, is a visiting instructor in the department of neurology, University of Utah. He is currently pursuing subspecialty training in the division of neuromuscular medicine. Originally from Utah, he obtained his medical degree at Saint Louis University and completed residency training in Neurology at the University of Utah in 2016, ... Read More


Neuromuscular Diseases


Clinical Neurosciences Center 801-585-7575

David R. Renner, MD

Patient Rating:


5.0 out of 5

In 2002, Dr. Renner joined the Department of Neurology faculty, where he currently holds a position as an Associate Professor of Neurology and a diplomate of tropical medicine and infectious disease. Dr. Renner is the course director for medical school neurosciences (Brain and Behavior). Dr. Renner is very active in teaching and mentoring, and ha... Read More

J. Robinson Singleton, MD

Patient Rating:


4.6 out of 5

J. Robinson Singleton, MD is Director of the Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Hospital. He teaches neuromuscular disease diagnosis and electrodiagnostic techniques to neurology, physical medicine, and rehabilitation residents, and has helped train 15 neuromuscular fellows. Dr. Singleton also serves on the Cen... Read More

A. Gordon Smith, MD, FAAN

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

A. Gordon Smith, MD, FAAN, is Professor of Neurology and Vice Chair for Research at the University of Utah, where he also serves as Chief of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine and director of the Jack H. Petajan EMG Laboratory and the Cutaneous Nerve Laboratory. Smith is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Mayo Medical School. He c... Read More

University Campus/Research Park

Clinical Neurosciences Center 175 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
(801) 585-7575
Primary Children's Hospital 100 N Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113
(801) 585-7575
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