Thursday, 14 June 2012

Research: ultraviolet light and MS

Menni et al. Short and long term variation in ultraviolet radiation and multiple sclerosis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012;9:685-97.

Background: These investigators examined the role of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in MSers in four different populations, Italians, Danish, White and African Americans. They tested whether variation in UVR as determined by seasons (short term variation) and solar cycles (long term variation) is related to MS birth month and to survival as measured by lifespan. 

Methods: Cases were selected from three Italian MS Case Registries (2,737); from the United States National Center for Health Statistics (56,020); and from the Danish Multiple Sclerosis registry (15,900). Chi-square tests were used to study the pattern of month of birth distribution in MSers comparing with general population data. T-tests were employed to study solar cycles association with lifespan. 

Results: A surplus of births was observed in June for White Americans. A decrease of births in October and November, though not significant after multiple testing correction, was observed in the three populations. In White American with MS overall, males and females, we found that solar cycle is associated with lifespan. 

Conclusion: They found that season and solar cycles have some role in MS susceptibility and life duration. However, this is an exploratory analysis and further work is needed to discern the association.

"This work confirms data in the literature that conditions inside the womb during pregnancy are important for MS risk. This probably relates to vD levels, which is why we recommend vD supplements in pregnancy." 


  1. Yes, but Prof G, I was born in the late 1970s and my mum never took vit D. My big sister just had a baby and she hasn't been told to take vit D (though after my MS diagnosis she's decided to buy some high dose ones).

    from everything I've read it seems that vit D deficiancy is the cause of most ill health matters (cancers, Pakinson's, MS, et al). I can't understand why health officials aren't pushing for a high vit D lifestyle to be adopted by all British citzens (pills and all).

    I have pretty bad MS but since taking vit D pills and getting sunshine I've not had a cold in over a year, and I always used to get colds. Can this be related?

  2. Re: "I have pretty bad MS but since taking vit D pills and getting sunshine I've not had a cold in over a year, and I always used to get colds. Can this be related?"

    Definitely, vD is important for immune function and there is evidence that people who are vD deficient are more at risk of viral and bacterial infections.

    I agree re public health policy. The problem with supplementing the nation is that the risk:benefit ratio of this strategy needs to be properly defined.


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