Age-specific ALS incidence: a dose–response meta-analysis

Benoît Marin, Andrea Fontana, Simona Arcuti, Massimilano Copetti, Farid Boumédiene, Philippe Couratier, Ettore Beghi, Pierre Marie Preux, Giancarlo Logroscino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate the association between worldwide ALS incidence rates and age, using a dose–response meta-analysis. We reviewed Medline and Embase up to July 2016 and included all population-based studies of newly-diagnosed cases, using multiple sources for case ascertainment. A dose–response meta-analysis was performed. A meta-regression investigated potential sources of heterogeneity. Of 3254 articles identified in the literature, we included 41 incidence studies covering 42 geographical areas. Overall, the fit between observed and predicted age-specific rates was very good. The expected variation of ALS incidence with age was characterized, in each study, by a progressive increase in the incidence from the 40s leading to a peak in the 60s or 70s, followed by a sharp decrease. Cochran’s Q test suggested a significant heterogeneity between studies. Overall, estimated patterns of ALS age-specific incidence (at which the peak was reached) were similar among subcontinents of Europe and North America: peak of ALS incidence ranged in these areas between 6.98 and 8.17/100,000 PYFU, which referred to age in the range 71.6–77.4 years. The relationship between age and ALS incidence appeared different for Eastern Asia which was characterized by a peak of ALS incidence at 2.20/100,000 PYFU around 75 years of age. This study confirms the consistency of the age-specific ALS incidence pattern within different subcontinents. Age-specific incidence appears lower in Eastern Asia as compared to Europe and North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-634
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Age-specific
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethnic groups
  • Incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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