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Higher Sun Exposure Tied to Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Findings based on sun exposure at 5 to 15 years of age and at 5 to 15 years before MS onset

WEDNESDAY, March 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — High sun exposure may lower the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online March 7 in Neurology.

Helen Tremlett, Ph.D., from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 151 patients with MS and 235 age-matched controls participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. The authors sought to assess the relationship between sun exposure and MS.

The researchers found that living in high ultraviolet (UV)-B areas versus low areas before MS onset was associated with a 45 percent lower MS risk (adjusted relative risk [RR], 0.55). For medium or high sun exposure, similar reduced risks (51 to 52 percent) were seen at ages 5 to 15 years and at 5 to 15 years before MS onset (adjusted P < 0.05). Living in a high UV-B area and having high summer sun exposure at age 5 to 15 years were associated with a lower MS risk (RR, 0.45) versus low exposure for both.

“Living in high ambient UV-B areas during childhood and the years leading up to MS onset was associated with a lower MS risk,” the authors write.

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