Neck weakness is a potent prognostic factor in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients

Ryoichi Nakamura, Naoki Atsuta, Hazuki Watanabe, Akihiro Hirakawa, Hirohisa Watanabe, Mizuki Ito, Jo Senda, Masahisa Katsuno, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yuishin Izumi, Mitsuya Morita, Kotaro Ogaki, Akira Taniguchi, Ikuko Aiba, Koichi Mizoguchi, Koichi Okamoto, Kazuko Hasegawa, Masashi Aoki, Akihiro Kawata, Koji AbeMasaya Oda, Masaaki Konagaya, Takashi Imai, Masanori Nakagawa, Shoji Tsuji, Ryuji Kaji, Imaharu Nakano, Gen Sobue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To clarify the emergence of muscle weakness in regions of the body that affect survival, and deterioration in activities of daily living (ADL) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Methods: We conducted a multicentre-based prospective cohort study of patients with ALS. We enrolled 401 sporadic patients with ALS. Death or the introduction of invasive ventilation was defined as the primary endpoint, and the time to five clinical markers of ADL deterioration associated with bulbar paralysis or limb weakness were defined as ADL milestones. Muscle weakness was assessed in the neck flexor muscles; the bilateral abductors of the shoulders; the bilateral wrist extensor muscles; the bilateral flexor muscles of the hips; and the bilateral ankle dorsi flexion muscles. We performed Cox proportional hazards regression analyses for the primary endpoint and the five ADL milestones, adjusting for known covariate prognostic factors for ALS. Results: The Medical Research Council (MRC) score for the neck flexors was the most significant prognostic factor for the primary endpoint (HR 0.74, p<0.001), loss of speech (HR 0.66, p<0.001), and loss of swallowing function (HR 0.73, p<0.001), and was one of the significant prognostic factors for loss of upper limb function, difficulty turning in bed , and loss of walking ability ( p=0.001, 0.002, and 0.008, respectively). The MRC score for the neck flexors was also a significant prognostic factor for covariates of the previously reported prognostic factors. Conclusions: Neck weakness is an independent prognostic factor for survival and deterioration in ADL in Patients with ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1371
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12-2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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