Exercise & MND (ALS) Risk

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bob sterman
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Exercise & MND (ALS) Risk

Post by bob sterman » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:12 am

In the news today...

Frequent strenuous exercise increases the chance of developing MND in genetically at risk individuals
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/freque ... ndividuals

Motor neurone disease: Intense exercise increases risk, say scientists

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-57431412

The paper is here...

Physical exercise is a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Convergent evidence from Mendelian randomisation, transcriptomics and risk genotype
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 6421001900

It is unfortunate that the full definitions of the relevant exercise types were not spelled out in either the press release or the paper itself.

The Mendelian randomisation research is based on responses to a UK Biobank questionnaire item - to identify SNPs associated with exercise. These were the full response options...

https://biobank.ctsu.ox.ac.uk/showcase/ ... gi?id=6164
- Walking for pleasure (not as a means of transport)
- Other exercises (eg: swimming, cycling, keep fit, bowling)
- Strenuous sports
- Light DIY (eg: pruning, watering the lawn)
- Heavy DIY (eg: weeding, lawn mowing, carpentry, digging)
- None of the above
- Prefer not to answer
The researchers combined "Strenuous sports" and "Other exercises" to create a Strenuous Sports and Other Exercises (SSOE) measure. And participants "...were dichotomised to compare those who reported spending two-three days per week or more performing SSOE for a duration of 15-30 minutes or greater" with those and who did not report spending any time within the last four weeks performing SSOE.

And despite the fact that this SSOE measure includes bowling and potentially leisurely swimming - they refer to SSOE as a measure of "strenuous leisure-time exercise". And they claim in the paper that "..the SSOE measure used in the present MR study enabled us to capture only activity which was both frequent and intense." Hence the media coverage focusing on strenuousness and intensity as risk factors.

My point? Not really sure. But that fact that 15 minutes of bowling twice a week can put you in the high SSOE category seems somewhat at odds with the media coverage - and the paper itself.

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