Autoimmune disease preceding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: an epidemiologic study

Neurology. 2013 Oct 1;81(14):1222-5. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a6cc13. Epub 2013 Aug 14.


Objective: To study whether the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is increased in people with prior autoimmune disease.

Methods: An all-England hospital record-linkage dataset spanning 1999-2011 was used. Cohorts were constructed of people with each of a range of autoimmune diseases; the incidence of ALS in each disease cohort was compared with the incidence of ALS in a cohort of individuals without prior admission for the autoimmune disease.

Results: There were significantly more cases than expected of ALS associated with a prior diagnosis of asthma, celiac disease, younger-onset diabetes (younger than 30 years), multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myxedema, polymyositis, Sjögren syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ulcerative colitis.

Conclusions: Autoimmune disease associations with ALS raise the possibility of shared genetic or environmental risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / classification
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospital Records
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk