Abstract: Motor neuron diseases (MND) are a group of
disorders characterized by motor neuron degeneration.
Among them, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is by far
the most common in adulthood. This paper assesses the
trend and geographical pattern in MND incidence in Spain
and the possible air lead levels effect on this pathology. To
confirm this concept, we performed a retrospective analysis
of the deaths due to MND in Spain during 2000 and 2013,
determined the geographical differences, and explored the
relationship between MND and the air levels of lead.
Overall, between 2000 and 2013, 11,355 people died in
Spain because of MND. Disease mortality significantly
increased in recent years (2007?2013) when compared with
the first time of the period. Spearman?s rank correlation
coefficient also showed a statistically significant positive
trend (CC = 0.824, p = 0.0002). Among people over
65 years, mortality rates were higher in Northern provinces.
Moreover, we found a significant association of MND
mortality with higher air lead levels (CC = 0.457,
p = 0.01). Our study confirms that MND mortality is
increasing in Spain, with a significant latitude gradient,
which suggests an important role of environmental exposures.
This ecological study suggests that air lead levels
may be implicated in ALS pathogenesis.
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