News Release

Pesticide exposure linked to increased risk of ALS

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Survey data suggest reported cumulative pesticide exposure was associated with increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.

Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and coauthors examined occupational exposures and environmental factors on the risk of developing ALS in Michigan. The authors evaluated assessments of environmental pollutants in the blood and detailed exposure reporting through a survey. The study recruited 156 patients with ALS and 128 control patients for comparison; 101 patients with ALS and 110 controls had complete demographic and pollutant data.

Pesticide exposure was associated with increased risk of ALS in survey data and by blood measurements, according to the results.

"Finally, as environmental factors that affect the susceptibility, triggering and progression of ALS remain largely unknown, we contend future studies are needed to evaluate longitudinal trends in exposure measurements, assess newer and nonpersistent chemicals, consider pathogenic mechanisms, and assess phenotypic variations," the study conclude.

To read the full study and a related editorial by Jacquelyn J. Cragg, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, please visit the For The Media website.


(JAMA Neurol. Published online May 9, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.0594. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact corresponding author Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., call Haley Otman at 734-764-2220 or email

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