Two new meta analyses of ALS patients reveal relationships between patient ethnicity and ALS disease characteristics. Benoît Marin from the University of Limoges in France and colleagues investigated ethnic differences in the onset, incidence, and phenotype of the disease in a dataset combining 78 ALS population-based studies including over ten thousand ALS patients. Using subcontinent as a surrogate for ethnicity, and accounting for genetic admixture, the authors reported a positive association between ALS incidence and European ancestry. No such correlations were seen in patients of Asian ancestry. In a second study, Marin and colleagues found that the median survival time for ALS patients after onset was also significantly dependent on ethnicity, with a difference of two years between patients of North European and South Asian ancestry. The findings were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
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