Drinkers Half As Likely To Get Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Though contracting ALS (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is relatively rare, according to a new Dutch study, your risk is cut in half if you drink moderately, when compared to abstainers. Better known, at least in North America, as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — since the New York Yankees first baseman famously contracted it in 1938 — the ABMRF is reporting about the new study. According to their information, the Risk of ALS Seen to be Lower in Drinkers than Abstainers. Their full article is below:

A Dutch population-based case-control study of the rare but devastating neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) suggests that the risk of such disease is increased among smokers, as has been shown previously. However, surprisingly, the risk of ALS was seen to be markedly lower among consumers of alcohol than among abstainers.

The study conducted between 2006 and 2009 included surveying 494 patients with incident ALS, a large sample for the rare disease, and 1,599 controls. Investigators compared results with those from cohorts including patients with prevalent ALS and referral patients.

Results highlight the importance of lifestyle factors in the risk for ALS. Current smoking is associated with an increased risk of ALS and a worse prognosis. However, alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of ALS, as the risk among drinkers was about one half that of non-drinkers.

You can see the abstract for the study itself, Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and the Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Population-based Study, at PubMed.


  1. Michele Dupree says

    This is interesting info for those dying of a fatal, incurable, horrible disease. They can’t eat, drink, speak, swallow, move or breathe but you choose to hop on the marketing bus without even calling it what it is.
    ALS. And it kills. No amount of beer will make a damn bit of difference, except to maybe get your mind off the fact that you’re locked inside your body.

    • says

      I’m sure that’s true, but that’s not what I was saying, or what the study found. The study found — did you even bother to read it or did you just fly off the handle in an emotional rage? — that you’re half as likely to contract the disease if you drink alcohol versus if you don’t. That might prevent more people from being in the horrible condition you describe, which for them, would indeed make quite some “damn bit of difference.”

  2. Michele Dupree says

    Yes, I was being facetious in a way, but I posted this on Facebook and for all the long time drinkers who now have ALS, they don’t see the possibilities here. I was more upset with the ALM reference instead of calling it what it is. Thank you for the correction.

    • says

      What is ALM? For me it was just a typo, my fingers slipping on the keys and not catching it. It’s really hard to convey nuance in a comment, especially without any verbal or visual cues. There’s no doubt it would suck to have this disease, but your comment just struck me as lashing out at me for no reason and, presumably, not understanding what I was posting. Apparently that was not your intention, and I appreciate you correcting that impression. Best, J.


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