Epidemiological characteristics of motor neuron disease in Chinese patients

Acta Neurol Scand. 2014 Aug;130(2):111-7. doi: 10.1111/ane.12240. Epub 2014 Apr 1.


Background: The epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of motor neuron disease (MND) in Chinese patients are ill known.

Methods: A registered study of 461 MND patients was conducted across 10 facilities in 7 Chinese cities from February 2009 to March 2010.

Results: Patients were classified as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (84.4%), progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) (4.1%), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) (10.4%), or primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) (0.9%). MND was predominant in men (men/women; 1.6:1.0). Mean onset age was 52.6 years, with the highest incidence being observed between 51 and 60 years. Notably, 26.0% of MND patients were employed in forestry, fishery, or animal husbandry industries. Ten cases (2.7%) reported family history of MND, and 54.2% exhibited cervical onset. MND was also associated with head/neck trauma. Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation was the most common supportive therapy.

Conclusion: As a novel comprehensive report of a Chinese population, this study reveals that epidemiological characteristics of MND patients were similar to those observed in international populations. MND is age-related, male gender predominant, and may be associated with both environmental and genetic risk factors.

Keywords: Riluzole; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; epidemiology; motor neuron disease; nervous system disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / diagnosis
  • Motor Neuron Disease / epidemiology*
  • Motor Neuron Disease / therapy
  • Sex Factors