Neuroepidemiologic research initiatives on Guam: past and present

Neuroepidemiology. 1999;18(6):279-91. doi: 10.1159/000026223.


Since the middle of this century, a remarkable concentration of cases of neurodegenerative disease(s), referred to as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson-dementia complex (ALS/PDC), has been recognized among Chamorro natives of Guam. Intense investigations over the last 4 decades have failed to determine the etiology of these invariably fatal diseases. Over the same time period, the incidence of ALS has decreased dramatically, the incidence of PDC has decreased, but to a lesser degree, and age at onset has shifted to a later age by about 1 decade. Almost 50% of demented patients present without the classical Parkinsonian features of PDC, and the morphological picture has changed. Results of past and present research initiatives are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Animals
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Dementia / history
  • Guam / epidemiology
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / history*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / history