Critical issues in ALS case-control studies: the case of the Euro-MOTOR study

Fabrizio D’Ovidio, James P.K. Rooney, Anne E. Visser, Roel C.H. Vermeulen, Jan H. Veldink, Leonard H. Van Den Berg, Orla Hardiman, Giancarlo Logroscino, Adriano Chiò, Ettore Beghi, for the Euro-MOTOR Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backround: Political and sociocultural differences between countries can affect the outcome of clinical and epidemiological studies in ALS. Cross-national studies represent the ideal process by which risk factors can be assessed using the same methodology in different geographical areas. Methods: A survey of three European countries (The Netherlands, Ireland and Italy) has been conducted in which incident ALS patients and matched controls were recruited in a population-based study based on age, gender and area of residency, under the Euro-MOTOR systems biology programme of research. Findings: We have identified strengths and limitations during the trajectory of the Euro-MOTOR study, from the research design to data analysis. We have analysed the implications of factors including cross-national differences in healthcare systems, sample size, types of matching, the definition of exposures and statistical analysis. Conclusions: Addressing critical methodological aspects of the design of the Euro-MOTOR project minimises bias and will facilitate scientific assessment of the independent role of well-defined exposures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2017


  • case-control study
  • criticisms
  • Epidemiology
  • genetics
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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