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Do People Who Exercise More Have a Lower Risk of ALS?

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MINNEAPOLIS – Moderate levels of physical activity and fitness may be linked to a reduced risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) later in life, according to a new study published in the June 26, 2024, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study only found an association between physical activity and risk of ALS in male participants, not female participants. 

ALS is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. People with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death. The average life span after diagnosis is two to five years. 

“The diagnosis of prominent athletes with ALS at young ages has sparked the uncomfortable idea that higher physical activity could be tied to developing ALS,” said study author Anders Myhre Vaage, MD, of Akershus University Hospital in Norway. “There have been conflicting findings on levels of physical activity, fitness and ALS risk. Our study found that for men, living a more active lifestyle could be linked to a reduced risk of ALS more than 30 years later.”

To read more of the American Academy of Neurology’s press release, visit their website link down below.

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