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Neurology

Exposure to Sun May Lower Multiple Sclerosis Risk

20 years, 5 months ago

9029  0
Posted on Aug 31, 2003, 10 a.m. By Bill Freeman

New research suggests that exposure to sunlight may lower the odds of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr Terry Dwyer, from University of Tasmania, Australia, and colleagues studied 132 people with MS and 272 healthy people. Results showed that people who had the least exposure to the sun were the most likely to have MS.

New research suggests that exposure to sunlight may lower the odds of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr Terry Dwyer, from University of Tasmania, Australia, and colleagues studied 132 people with MS and 272 healthy people. Results showed that people who had the least exposure to the sun were the most likely to have MS. Overall, people who spent 2-3 hours each day in the sun were roughly a third less likely to have the disease compared with those who spent the least amount of time in the sun. The study also suggests that exposure to sunlight has the strongest benefit during childhood. The findings correlate with statistics showing that the prevalence of MS is lowest in sunny countries and higher in less sunny countries. Dwyer suspects that the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight may prevent the body from attacking its own myelin - the hallmark of the disease.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: BMJ 2003;327:316.

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