Washington: A new study has shown that people who spend more time in the sun and those with higher vitamin D levels may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS).MS is a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord, usually with recurrent flare-ups of symptoms. It is often preceded by a first episode (or event) of similar symptoms lasting days to weeks.
The participants reported how much sun they were exposed to during different periods of their lives, and researchers also measured the amount of skin damage participants had from sun exposure and the amount of melanin in their skin. Vitamin D levels (from sun exposure, diet and supplement use) were measured by blood tests.The risk of having a first event, diagnosed by a doctor, ranged from approximately two to nine new cases for every 100,000 people per year in this study. The reported UV light exposure of participants ranged from about 500 to over 6,000 kilojoules per meter squared. The researchers found that the risk of having a diagnosed first event decreased by 30 percent for each UV increase of 1,000 kilojoules. They also found that people with most evidence of skin damage from sun exposure were 60 percent less likely to develop a first event than the people with the least damage.People with the highest levels of vitamin D also were less likely to have a diagnosed first event than people with the lowest levels.The study has been published in the February 8, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. ANI
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