Journal of Neurology

, Volume 240, Issue 6, pp 339–346 | Cite as

The prognosis of adult-onset motor neuron disease: a prospective study based on the Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register

  • Andrew M. Chancellor
  • James M. Slattery
  • Hazel Fraser
  • Robert J. Swingler
  • Susan M. Holloway
  • Charles P. Warlow
Original Communications


The Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register (SMNDR) is a prospective, collaborative, population-based project which has been collecting data on incident patients since 1989. In this report we present the clinical features of 229 patients with motor neuron disease (218 sporadic and 11 familial) diagnosed in 1989 and 1990 and compare their prognosis with previous studies of survival. The overall 50% survival from symptom onset was 2.5 years (95% CI, 2.2–3.0) and 5-year survival 28% (95% Cl, 20–36%). The presence of progressive bulbar palsy (PBP), either at presentation or developing during the course of the illness, significantly reduced survival and was the most important prognostic indicator. Patients who survived longer than 5 years from symptom onset did not have BP as part of their presenting illness. The prognosis was worse for women, and this was in part related to the higher frequency of PBP in older women, but age was also an independent adverse risk factor. Differences in survival between this and previous series can probably be explained on the basis of variation in case definition and ascertainment methods.

Key words

Motor neuron disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Epidemiology Prognosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M. Chancellor
    • 1
  • James M. Slattery
    • 1
  • Hazel Fraser
    • 1
  • Robert J. Swingler
    • 3
  • Susan M. Holloway
    • 2
  • Charles P. Warlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical NeurosciencesUniversity Department of Medicine, Western General HospitalEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Human Genetics UnitUniversity Department of Medicine, Western General HospitalEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyDundee Royal InfirmaryDundeeUK

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