A noticeable change of the male-to-female sex ratio (SR) has been observed in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) leading to an apparent regression of SR with time (SR close to 1:1).To provide a global SR estimate and investigate its relation with respect to population age.A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted including only population-based studies with a high-quality methodology in European ancestral origin population. Male-to-female SR was estimated by three different measures: SR number, SR crude incidence and SR standardized incidence. Standard and dose-response meta-analyses were performed to assess the pooled SR measures (irrespective of population age) and the evolution of the SR measures with respect to population age, respectively. Potential sources of heterogeneity were investigated via meta-regression.Overall, 3254 articles were retrieved in the literature search. Thirty-nine studies stratified by time periods were included. The overall pooled male-to-female ratio was 1.28 (95% CI 1.23-1.32) for SR number, 1.33 (95% CI 1.29-1.38) for SR crude incidence and 1.35 (95% CI 1.31-1.40) for SR standardized incidence. The SR number with respect to population age reveals a progressive reduction of SR at increasing age, while the SR crude incidence in relation to age displays a U-shaped curve.The number and the incidence of ALS cases were consistently higher in males than females. Dose-response meta-analysis showed that SR measures change with respect to population age. Further original research is needed to clarify if our findings are reproducible in other populations.
Andrea Fontana, Benoit Marin, Jaime Luna, Ettore Beghi, Giancarlo Logroscino, Farid Boumédiene, Pierre-Marie Preux, Philippe Couratier, Massimilano Copetti