Annals of African Medicine

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What is happening to motor neuron disease in Nigeria?

I Imam, A Ogunniyi


Background: Systematic studies of motor neuron disease were last reported from Ibadan, Nigeria, more than two decades ago. Since then, information about motor neuron disease has become limited making it necessary to review the current status of the disease.

Methods: The clinical records of all cases of motor neuron disease seen at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, over a twenty-year period were studied. Sex, age, age at onset of illness, type of motor neuron disease and risk factors were documented and compared with findings of two previous reports from Ibadan.

Results: Sixteen cases met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of onset of disease was 38.6 years (range 16 to 60 years). Fifteen of the subjects were male and one was female. All subjects had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Trauma was the most frequent risk factor identified, documented in six (37.5%) subjects.

Conclusions: The frequency of motor neuron disease appears to have declined considerably. While the onset remains in the younger age group, the male predominance has remarkably increased. The proportion of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has increased from 80 to 100% of cases. Trauma, previously reported to be an uncommon risk factor, is now the most frequent.

Key Words: Motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Nigeria

Annals of African Medicine Vol.3(1 ) 2004: 1-3

AJOL African Journals Online