Relationship of UV exposure to prevalence of multiple sclerosis in England

Ramagopalan et al. Neurology 19th April 2011

Methods: English national Hospital Episode Statistics covering all admissions to NHS hospitals in England from 1998 to 2005 were used to obtain the period prevalences of MS and infectious mononucleosis (IM). NASA’s data on ultra violet B radiation (UVB) intensity for England was collected. The relationships among the 3 variables (MS prevalence, IM prevalence, and UVB intensity) were investigated.

Results: The regression of MS against UVB intensity for all seasons had an r2 of 0.61; when including the interaction of IM with seasonal UVB, the r2 rose to 0.72.

Conclusions: UVB exposure and IM together can explain a substantial proportion of the variance of MS. The effect of UVB on generating vitamin D seems the most likely candidate for explaining its relationship with MS. There is a pressing need to investigate the role of vitamin D and EBV and how they might interact to influence MS risk to identify potential prevention strategies.

“At last some integrated thinking to try and link risk factors.”

COI: This work was done by Ram who works in our group!

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