ALS Receives Recognition from CDC Report, Ice Bucket Challenge

Katie Eder, Senior Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
The viral Ice Bucket Challenge and the first effort to estimate the prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have raised awareness of the neurodegenerative disease.


Mere days before the Ice Bucket Challenge quite literally began soaking the nation, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reported the results of the first and only effort to estimate the prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the United States.
 
For their research published July 24, 2014, in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ATSDR investigators collected and reviewed information from the National ALS Registry, which used a 2-pronged approach in the form of an online self-report portal and 4 existing national administrative databases maintained by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Veterans Benefits Administration in order to identify the prevalence of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
 
Using these methods, the researchers identified a total of 12,187 ALS patients between October 19, 2010, and December 31, 2011, estimating a prevalence of 4 ALS cases per 100,000 persons in the general US population. In addition, they found ALS was more common among white males, non-Hispanics, and those aged 60 to 69 years.
 
The ATSDR report also included preliminary data on possible ALS risk factors, including military service, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and previous exposure to heavy metals, though the authors noted “most risk-factor studies have had small sample sizes or have been conducted in limited geographic areas in populations that might not be representative of the US population.”
 
“This initial report is an important milestone for the National ALS Registry and adds to our knowledge of the disease, but this is just the beginning,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association, in a press release. “The first step in what is a long-term research project that not only can tell us how many people have ALS but, more importantly, why they have it. Further enrollment of people living with ALS is critical.”
 
Since the ALS Association launched the Ice Bucket Challenge on July 29, 2014, it has received $22.9 million in donations, mostly resulting from countless videos of participants dumping buckets of ice on their heads to help raise awareness of the neurodegenerative disease.

Related Articles
Casting doubt on previous conjectures, a new study suggests that statins do not protect patients against Parkinson’s disease.
Compared with those receiving short-acting antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), patients with epilepsy taking long-acting AEDs use fewer health care services and have lower related care costs.
Availability of a raw methamphetamine ingredient in popular OTC products prompted national regulations to move products that contain pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacy counter.
Former National Football League players who participated in tackle football before the age of 12 were more likely to have memory and thinking problems in adulthood.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Health-System Edition
    photo
    Directions in Pharmacy
    photo
    OTC Guide
    photo
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    photo
    Specialty Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Generic
$auto_registration$