Karissa C. Arthur, MRSP Scholar

Karissa C. Arthur

Karissa C. Arthur


The Commonwealth Medical College


Bryan J. Traynor, M.D., Ph.D.,
Senior Investigator and Chief, Neuromuscular Diseases Research Section,
Laboratory of Neurogenetics

NIH Institute:

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Research Project Title:

Projected Increase in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis from 2015 to 2040

Research Summary:

The number of individuals in the world above age 60 is expected to increase rapidly, and this aging pattern is especially significant in developing countries. The number of individuals diagnosed with chronic disease has grown due to this trend.  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease, is one such chronic disease. It is characterized by both upper and lower motor neuron degeneration and has a median survival of two to four years. Although ALS is relatively rare, the socioeconomic significance of the disease is extensive. It is therefore vital to project the epidemiologic trend of ALS. To date, there have been few published studies attempting to estimate the number and distribution of ALS cases in the coming years. 

We performed a review of the current literature to identify incidence rates and median survival of patients with ALS.  Using these data, we developed a code with use of R programming to estimate the number of individuals living with ALS in 2015 and 2040.  Data were available for 10 countries and regions (China, Europe, Iran, Japan, Libya, New Zealand, Serbia, Taiwan, United States, and Uruguay). The number of ALS cases in these locations will grow from 80,162 in 2015 to 105,693 in 2040, representing an increase of more than 31%.  The largest increase in cases will be seen in developing nations.  Applying these figures to the broader world population, the estimated number of ALS cases is 186,398 in 2015 and 304,439 in 2040, representing an increase of 63% during this time period.  We found that the number of ALS cases will increase by about 30% to 60% from 2015 to 2040. This projection fills a sizeable gap in the scientific literature, and understanding these trends is important to inform healthcare policy and more efficiently allocate local healthcare resources.


Geiger JT, Arthur KC, Dawson TM, Rosenthal LS, Pantelyat A, Albert M, Hillis AE, Crain B, Pletnikova O, Troncoso JC, Scholz SW.  C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat analysis in cases with pathologically confirmed dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurodegen Dis 2016. (In press)

Arthur KC, Calvo A, Geiger JT, Chiò A, Traynor BJ.  Projected increase in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from 2015 to 2040.  Nature Commun 2016. (In press)

Abstract Publications:

Arthur KC, Calvo A, Geiger JT, Chiò A, Traynor BJ.  Projected number of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases from 2005 to 2030.  American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; Vancouver, BC.  Poster presented by KC Arthur, April, 2016.

Travel to Meetings:

Pennsylvania Neurological Society; Hershey, PA; Oct 24-25, 2015

American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting; Vancouver, BC; Apr 15-20, 2016

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