Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and environmental factors

Virginia Bozzoni, Orietta Pansarasa, Luca Diamanti, Guido Nosari, Cristina Cereda, Mauro Ceroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects central and peripheral motor neuron cells. Its etiology is unknown, although a relationship between genetic background and environmental factors may play a major role in triggering the neurodegeneration. In this review, we analyze the role of environmental factors in ALS: heavy metals, electromagnetic fields and electric shocks, pesticides, β-N-methylamino-L-alanine, physical activity and the controversial role of sports. The literature on the single issues is analyzed in an attempt to clarify, as clearly as possible, whether each risk factor significantly contributes to the disease pathogenesis. After summarizing conflicting observations and data, the authors provide a final synthetic statement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • ALS
  • BMAA
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Metals
  • Pesticides
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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