Impact of comorbidities and co-medication on disease onset and progression in a large German ALS patient group.

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with loss of muscle function. The pathogenesis is still unclear and the heterogeneity of ALS phenotypes is huge. We investigated a large population of ALS patients and controls concerning comorbidities and medications to detect specific risk or protective factors regarding onset and progression of ALS.We investigated a cohort of 200 ALS patients pro- and retrospectively compared to a control group. For comparison of frequencies of comorbidities and medication intake, uni- and multivariate binary logistic regressions were performed. To analyze the influence of comorbidities and medication on the progression of ALS, we used linear regression analysis.ALS patients showed a relevantly higher prevalence of strokes and depression compared to controls. Moreover, ALS patients reported relevantly more often regular physical activity and their BMI was lower. The coexistence of coronary heart disease was associated with a relevantly faster disease progression. Intake of contraceptives was relevantly higher in controls compared with ALS patients.Our results suggest stroke, lower BMI, and regular physical activity as risk factors for ALS. Strokes could be a possible trigger of the pathogenetic pathway of ALS and the lower BMI with consecutively lower rate of hyperlipidemia supports the hypothesis of premorbid hypermetabolism in ALS patients. Coexistence of coronary heart disease possibly has a negative influence on respiratory involvement. Contraceptives could be beneficial due to a protective effect of estrogen. Information on influencing factors can help to elucidate the pathogenesis of ALS or provide approaches for possible therapeutic options.

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