, Volume 253, Issue 12, pp 1642-1643

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in an urban setting

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Sirs: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease primarily affecting cortical and spinal motor neurons. There have been several previous population studies, reporting incidences between 0.44 and 3.2 per 100,000 person-years[1, 2].

As a preliminary step in establishing a population register for ALS in South-East England, we have identified all prevalent cases in the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (LSL) between 1 January 1997 and 31 July 2004. Cases were identified from multiple sources to ensure ascertainment was as complete as possible, but it is important to recognise that this register covers a relatively small population, with a high rate of migration in and out of the area.

Seventy-three individuals with ALS were identified, of whom 56 were newly diagnosed (23 female, 33 male). Crude incidence was 1.20 per 100,000 person-years and prevalence 4.06 per 100,000 (Table 1). For England and Wales, the projected age-adjusted incidence rate was 1.6

C.A. Johnston, B.R. Stanton contributed equally to the preparation of this report
Received in revised form: 1 December 2005