Emerging

Childhood sun exposure may lower risk of MS

Public release date: 23-Jul-2007

ST. PAUL, MN — People who spent more time in the sun as children may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) than people who had less sun exposure during childhood, according to a study published in the July 24, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study found the twin with MS spent less time in the sun as a child than the twin who did not have MS. Depending on the activity, the twin who spent more hours outdoors had a 25 to 57 percent reduced risk of developing MS. For example, the risk of developing MS was 49 percent lower for twins who spent more time sun tanning than their siblings

“Sun exposure appears to have a protective effect against MS,” said study authors Talat Islam, MBBS, PhD, and Thomas Mack, MD, MPH, with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Exposure to ultra violet rays may induce protection against MS by alternative mechanisms, either directly by altering the cellular immune response or indirectly by producing immunoactive vitamin D.”

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