Vigorous exercise may be linked to a heightened risk of developing motor neurone disease, a new study suggests.
The disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is sometimes known as the ‘Athlete’s curse’ because it affects a disproportionate number of sports people.
ALS, which impacts two in 100,000 people in Britain, is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no treatment. Last month Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist, died from a rare version of the condition.
To try and find out what might cause the illness, researchers compared the lifestyles of 1,557 ALS patients in Europe with 2,922 healthy people.
They discovered that people with ALS were more likely to have engaged in intensive exercise. People who exercised the most were 26 per cent more likely to develop than those were were the least active.