AANEM News Express

AANEM News Express

Science News: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Mortality Rates in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Meta-Analysis

Submitted by: Pritikanta Paul, MD
Edited by: Marcus Pai, MD, PhD

Citation: Erazo D, Luna J, Preux PM, et al. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mortality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean: A meta-analysis [published online ahead of print, 2022 Mar 9]. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2022;1-12. doi:10.1080/21678421.2022.2048310

Summary: Heterogeneity of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) epidemiology has been noted amongst geographic populations. Previous studies have shown lower frequency of ALS amongst non Caucasian descents. Furthermore, interesting findings, like lowest mortality from ALS in mixed ancestry has been noted. This study conducted meta-analysis of population-based data to describe ALS mortality rates in Latin America.
A random-effect meta-analysis was conducted on pooled national registries from Latin American countries. When compared to Europe and North America, lower occurrence of ALS was confirmed in this geographic region with significant heterogeneity amongst different countries. Furthermore, stratified analysis for different covariates revealed higher mortality rate among countries with a higher proportion of Caucasian population and higher income level. The authors highlight the long period of the study and homogenous methodology as strengths of the study but acknowledge that self-reported ethnicity being considered as a proxy for ancestral origin could be source of potential bias.

Comments: Studies continue to show association between ALS risk and genetic associations and environmental risk. This type of epidemiological study further emphasizes the need for investigating role of ancestral origin in ALS patients. With limited treatment options available for this terminal illness, there is need for increased awareness about disease risk factors and pathogenesis.

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