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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

1
National Center For Multiple Sclerosis, Melsbroek, Belgium. marie.dhooghe@ms-centrum.be

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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

OBJECTIVE:

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

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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.

PMID:
21952096
DOI:
10.1177/1352458511423778
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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