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Sunlight May Influence Age of Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

People who have higher vitamin D levels during teenage years appear to delay development of multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D levels in patients’ teenage years may push off multiple sclerosis (MS) onset into later in life, according to findings published in Neurology.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark observed 1,161 MS patients in order to compare the vitamin D levels among the patients between 2009 and 2012. Patients submitted questionnaires, which asked about a range of topics including their use of vitamin D supplements during their teenage years and how much fatty fish they ate at age 20 years, and blood samples. The patients were then classified into groups based on sun exposure during teenage years: those who spent time in the sun every day compared to those who did not.

The average MS onset for patients who spent time in the sun every day as teenagers was almost two years after those who did not spend time in the sun every day. A majority of the patients were included in the group which spent every day in the sun (88 percent). That group developed MS at an average age of 32.9 years, compared to age 31 for the not sun group.

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