Background: Previous studies have reported a high incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in endemic foci in the Kii Peninsula, Japan. However, little is known about the ALS frequency in the whole country. Furthermore, the presence of ethnic variation in the incidence of ALS remains unknown.
Methods: We conducted a nationwide survey of ALS frequency in 2013 to estimate its annual prevalence and incidence. ALS was diagnosed based on the El Escorial Criteria. The study period was the 2009 fiscal year, from April 2009 to March 2010. To compare the incidence of ALS among prefectures, standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated under the assumption of Poisson distribution.
Results: The annual crude prevalence and incidence rates per 100 000 people per year were 9.9 (95% CI 9.7–10.1) and 2.2 (95% CI 2.1–2.3), respectively. The age group with the highest prevalence as well as incidence was 70–79 years, and the male-female ratio was approximately 1.5. The annual incidence rate adjusted for age and sex using the 2000 U.S. standard population was 2.3 (95% CI 2.2–2.4) per 100 000 people. Some prefectures had significantly high SIRs: Okinawa, Nara and Wakayama in the Kii Peninsula, and Niigata for males; Kumamoto for females.
Conclusions: This is the first report on the annual prevalence and incidence of ALS in the representative population of Japan. We identified some prefectures with a high incidence of ALS. However, the incidence of ALS in the Japanese population was much lower than in the Caucasian populations of Europe and North America.
2014 Yuriko Doi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.