Send to

Choose Destination
Mult Scler. 2012 Apr;18(4):451-9. doi: 10.1177/1352458511423778. Epub 2011 Sep 27.

Sunlight exposure and sun sensitivity associated with disability progression in multiple sclerosis.

Author information

National Center For Multiple Sclerosis, Melsbroek, Belgium.



Sunlight and vitamin D have been inversely associated with the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).


We investigated sunlight exposure and sun sensitivity in relation to disability progression in MS.


We conducted a survey among persons with MS, registered by the Flemish MS society, Belgium, and stratified data according to relapsing-onset and progressive-onset MS. We used Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazard regression analyses with time to Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 6 as outcome measure. Hazard ratios for the time from onset and from birth were calculated for the potentially predictive variables, adjusting for age at onset, gender and immunomodulatory treatment.


704 (51.3%) of the 1372 respondents had reached EDSS 6. In relapsing-onset MS, respondents reporting equal or higher levels of sun exposure than persons of the same age in the last 10 years had a decreased risk of reaching EDSS 6. In progressive-onset MS, increased sun sensitivity was associated with an increased hazard of reaching EDSS 6.


The association of higher sun exposure with a better outcome in relapsing-onset MS may be explained by either a protective effect or reverse causality. Mechanisms underlying sun sensitivity might influence progression in progressive-onset MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center