Norwegian researchers find relationship between ALS and body weight

Overweight obesity shorter heavierIllustration.Photo: Pixabay

A Norwegian study shows lower risk for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) among obese people than among the slim.

“The study does not solve the ALS riddle, but provides the basis for focusing the search for treatment and prevention opportunities on factors related to the body’s energy turnover” said clinical research fellow and senior consultant at Ahus, Ola Nakken.

ALS is a disease that causes muscle wasting because the nerve cells that transmit signals from the brain to the muscles are destroyed. ALS affects about 150 people in Norway annually.

Lots of data

The major study was conducted by researchers from Ahus, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Oslo, and published in the American medical journal, Neurology, this week.

Based on data from the mandatory tuberculosis screening in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as information from health surveys and health registers, close to 3,000 Norwegian ALS patients were compared to 1.5 million people from the tuberculosis screening.

The results show that compared to the slim, defined as those with a body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 22.5, the obese (BMI between 25-30) had 18% lower ALS risk, while obese people (BMI of over 30) had 34% lower ALS risks.

Don’t fatten up

Previous studies have also shown a correlation between high activity levels and risk for ALS.

However, the researchers do not recommend people with ALS patients in the family to test their BMI and then being lying down.

‘’If there is only one family member with ALS then the risk of the disease is very small. We know for sure that significant weight gain and overweight are negative for many other diseases’’ said Nakken.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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