Chapter

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Lorene M. Nelson, Caroline M. Tanner, Stephen K. Van Den Eeden and Valerie M. McGuire

in Neuroepidemiology

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195133790
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863730 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133790.003.07
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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This chapter focuses on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common motor neuron disease. It discusses the three major forms of ALS: sporadic ALS, the familial or hereditary form of ALS, and the western Pacific (Mariana Islands) form. Considerable progress has been made in recent years on identifying genetic loci responsible for Mendelian forms of ALS; this evidence is summarized. The potential importance of geographic clusters is discussed, with particular emphasis on the western Pacific form of ALS because it often occurs in association with a parkinsonism and/or dementia complex (PDC). The incidence of Western Pacific ALS peaked and then declined in the mid-20th century, which strongly implicated an environmental cause. The chapter also presents detailed information regarding putative risk factors for sporadic ALS, which includes environmental toxicants, skeletal trauma, cigarette smoking, diet, and vigorous physical activity.

Keywords: motor neuron disease; ALS; western Pacific ALS; sporadic ALS; risk factors; environmental toxicants; geographic clusters; smoking; diet; physical activity

Chapter.  15248 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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