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Motor neurone disease link to physical activity

Thursday April 26th, 2018

A potential link has been found between vigorous physical activity and the risk of developing motor neurone disease.

Conflicting results have been found in previous studies - but as the association could be important, Professor Leonard van den Berg of University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands and colleagues investigated further.

The team carried out a population-based case-control study in Netherlands, Ireland and Italy. A total of 4,479 participants with and without amyotrophic lateral sclerosis completed a lifestyle and health questionnaire.

Analysis suggested a clear association between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and leisure time physical activity, as well as occupational physical activity. The link was strongest in the Irish and Italian groups.

Writing on Monday (23 April) in The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, the authors write: "We provide new class I evidence for a positive association between physical activity and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a large multicentre study."

They add: "An increased risk of 6% for all activities combined can be translated into a 26% increase in risk when comparing a person who is more active than average and a person who is less so.

"Overall, physical activity has been demonstrated to be protective against many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a variety of cancers.

“Decreasing the risk of these common conditions may be a trade-off with increasing the risk of a relatively rare disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis."

Visser, A. E. et al. Multicentre, cross-cultural, population-based, case-control study of physical activity as risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 23 April 2018; doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2017-317724

http://jnnp.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/jnnp-2017-317724

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Europe | Fitness

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