Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is not linked to multiple sclerosis in a population based study

In this population-based study from the Netherlands, the researchers looked at the relationship between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and MS. They identified all patients with ALS and MS and subsequently screened them for repeat expansions in the C9ORF 72 gene. 810 patients included in the study fulfilled the revised El Escorial Criteria. From this cohort two out of 810 ALS patients were diagnosed with MS before the first symptoms of ALS started. The rate of this MS-ALS concurrence is lower than in a previous study (0.25% vs 1.1% in the previous study) and is not higher than expected. The possible relation of ALS and MS was reported previously in other populations including a higher occurrence of MS among relatives of ALS patients in Iran. It is possible that the MS-ALS concurrence related to C9ORF72 repeat expansion is population specific. Therefore, this study concludes that MS is not more common on ALS patients in the Netherlands.

Authors: van Doormaal PT, Gallo A

Source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

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