Rising mortality from motor neurone disease in Sweden 1961-1990: the relative role of increased population life expectancy and environmental factors

Acta Neurol Scand. 1994 Sep;90(3):150-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1994.tb02698.x.


Recent studies of mortality from motor neurone disease (MND) in Sweden have demonstrated rising levels of mortality from the disease, especially amongst older age groups. Case-control investigations have suggested that certain environmental factors are significantly related to variations in mortality from the disease, and are associated with a probable individual susceptibility to MND. This study applies an innovative epidemiological technique to longitudinal and cohort analysis of Swedish mortality from MND during the period 1961 to 1990. Survival modelling shows that a subpopulation susceptible to MND exists in Sweden, as has been demonstrated in other countries. The increased life expectancy of the Swedish population since 1961 has resulted in more of that susceptible population living to the ages at which MND is expressed, explaining the majority of the increase in mortality from the disease. However, environmental factors may play a role in accelerating the course of MND and may affect the timing of death within the susceptible sub-population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / etiology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / mortality
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / etiology
  • Motor Neuron Disease / mortality*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology