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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Descriptive Epidemiology: The Origin of Geographic Difference.

Neuroepidemiology. 2019 Jan 02;52(1-2):93-103

Authors: Logroscino G, Piccininni M

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) epidemiology has rapidly developed in the last 30 years alongside the evolving changes in concepts in the field of clinical ALS and also due to the recent proposals of new classification system for motor neuron diseases. Many of these changes in the clinical scenario have been determined through the results of ALS population-based studies conducted in the last 20 years primarily in Europe. All the evidences converge to show that ALS risk is different across continents and ethnicities. In a European registry consortium named EURALS, ALS incident cases were drawn from a source population comprising almost 24 million people across Europe (ALS cases: 1028) and the estimated incidence was 2.2 per 100,000 person-years (py) for the general population. In contrast, other population-based studies have measured the lowest incidence in East Asia to be 0.89 per 100,000 py and in South Asia to be 0.79 per 100,000 py. A large part of Africa, Latin America and Asia does not have any population-based studies. The origin of geographic difference in ALS incidence is a matter of debate. Probably, this is partly due to genes (C9ORF72) and partly due to environmental risk factors. The rapid disappearance of ALS Foci in Guam, Kii, and West Guinea underline the importance of changes in lifestyle and environmental factors. The Global Burden of Disease, a project aiming to describe the burden of all diseases and injuries across all the countries of the world with a standardized protocol, has collected heterogeneous sources of data to estimate the burden of motor neuron diseases. The demographic changes related to increased expectation of life and the growth of the world population indicate that the load of motor neuron disease is rapidly moving toward 400 thousand prevalent cases. The burden is expected to shift toward Asia and Africa in the next decades for the rapid increase of expectation of life of countries with high demographic impact.

PMID: 30602169 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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