New research suggests that physical fitness, body mass index (BMI), IQ, and stress resilience in young adulthood may have effects on the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.
When investigators analyzed information on more than 1.8 million Swedish men (439 of whom developed ALS), those with high levels of physical fitness tended to have an elevated risk of developing ALS before the age of 45 years. Individuals with BMI greater than or equal to 25 tended to have a lower risk of ALS at all ages compared with those with BMI <25. Individuals with high IQs had an increased risk of ALS at an age of 56 years and above, whereas individuals with high levels of stress resilience had a lower risk of ALS at an age of 55 years and below.
"Male ALS patients seem to have a particular profile in terms of cognitive and physical fitness. Since our analysis was restricted to males it would be interesting to know if these findings are generalizable to females", said PhD Student Elisa Longinetti, lead author of the European Journal of Neurology study.