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More and more Swedes are suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: 'a significant increase'

More and more Swedes are suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: 'a significant increase'

Every year, approximately 400 Swedes develop the deadly neurodegenerative disease (ALS), a clear increase compared to previous estimates. “Ours are among the highest in the world,” chief physician and researcher Carolyn Enger tells us. TV4.

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The number of Swedes who develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is increasing every year, a new research report published in the journal Neurology shows.

It mainly affects older men

Caroline Enger is a senior physician and one of the researchers who conducted this study. She told TV4 that she and her colleagues began to question previous statistics after they noticed they had many more patients with ALS.

The suspicions turned out to be correct: instead of about 250 new cases per year, as previously thought, more than 400 Swedes develop ALS annually. This means that Sweden has the highest levels in the world according to Inger – a clear increase, although part of the explanation probably lies in an aging population and effective registration.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is actually the collective name for a group of diseases in which nerve cells in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord die. This causes the arms and legs to become increasingly paralyzed, and the ability to speak and swallow is often affected. The largest group affected by ALS is men aged 70 to 84 years, but younger people and women are also affected.

It is not yet known why some people develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and there is currently no curative treatment for the disease. However, Enger believes there is a growing awareness of ALS which will hopefully lead to change:

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“The more people know about the disease and the more pharmaceutical companies pay attention, the more we will eventually find a treatment that stops or slows it,” she tells TV4.