Some Recreational Activities Might Up Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Risk
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Some Recreational Activities Might Up Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Risk

Findings only for men, but authors say it is premature to counsel against these activities

TUESDAY, March 26, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Recreational activities — including golfing, gardening or yard work, woodworking and hunting — may be associated with an increased risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study published Feb. 15 in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.

Stephen A. Goutman, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed 400 people with ALS and 287 healthy controls to understand risk associated with hobbies, exercise, and avocational exposures.

The researchers found that risks associated with ALS included golfing (odds ratio [OR], 3.48), recreational dancing (OR, 2.00), or gardening or yard work (OR, 1.71) five years prior to diagnosis. Additional exposures associated with risk included personal (OR, 1.76) or family (OR, 2.21) participation in woodworking, and personal participation in hunting and shooting (OR, 1.89). No exposures were associated with ALS survival and onset. Earlier onset age was associated with swimming (3.86 years) and weightlifting (3.83 years) five years before diagnosis. No recreational activities had significant associations with ALS for females.

"We know that occupational risk factors, like working in manufacturing and trade industries, are linked to an increased risk for ALS, and this adds to a growing literature that recreational activities may also represent important and possibly modifiable risk factors for this disease," Goutman said in a statement, although he cautioned it is too early advise that patients stop doing any of these activities.

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