UN Researchers Say ALS Cases to Increase through 2040

A new study led by researchers with the United Nations (UN) has projected that the number of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) will increase by 69% over the next 25 years, primarily due to population ageing.

According to the study “Projected increase in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from 2015 to 2040,” published in the August issue of Nature Communications, the number of people in the world over 60 years old is expected to increase exponentially, particularly in developing countries where the proportion of older individuals is set to increase from 9% to 16% from 2015 to 2040.

The study’s authors believe that the number of patients with chronic diseases will also rise. In particular, Parkinson’s disease is projected to double between 2005 and 2030.

The study estimates that the number of cases of ALS will increase mainly in developing countries over the next quarter of a century.

Of the countries analyzed, the number of ALS cases seems to be rising substantially in the developing world. Developing countries like China, Iran, Libya, Serbia, Taiwan, and Uruguay, are projected to see a 50% increase in the number of ALS cases from 2015 to 2040. On the contrary, in 2015, 71% of all ALS cases were reported in developed countries, but this number is estimated to drop to 67% by 2040. The overall finding suggests that the weight of the disease is gradually shifting from developed countries to developing countries.

The UN estimates that the number of ALS cases worldwide could increase from 222,801 in 2015 to 376,674 in 2040, representing an increase of 69%. Africa could lead the chart with an increase of 116%, followed by Asia with 81% and South America with 73%.

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