Climatic factors associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A spatial analysis from Taiwan

Ching Piao Tsai, Charles Tzu Chi Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies have assessed the spatial association of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) incidence in the world. The aim of this study was to identify the association of climatic factors and ALS incidence in Taiwan. A total of 1,434 subjects with the primary diagnosis of ALS between years 1997 and 2008 were identified in the national health insurance research database. The diagnosis was also verified by the national health insurance programme, which had issued and providing them with "serious disabling disease (SDD) certificates". Local indicators of spatial association were employed to investigate spatial clustering of age-standardised incidence ratios in the townships of the study area. Spatial regression was utilised to reveal any association of annual average climatic factors and ALS incidence for the 12-year study period. The climatic factors included the annual average time of sunlight exposure, average temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, relative humidity and wind speed with spatial autocorrelation controlled. Significant correlations were only found for exposure to sunlight and rainfall and it was similar in both genders. The annual average of the former was found to be negatively correlated with ALS, while the latter was positively correlated with ALS incidence. While accepting that ALS is most probably multifacto-rial, it was concluded that sunlight deprivation and/or rainfall are associated to some degree with ALS incidence in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalGeospatial Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Climate
  • Rainfall
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Health Policy


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