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Lack of UV 20X more associated with MS than any other variable – Dec 2010

A Quantitative Analysis of Suspected Environmental Causes of MS.

Can J Neurol Sci 38(1):98-105 (2011)
Scott Sloka, Claudia Silva, William Pryse-Phillips, Scott Patten, Luanne Metz and V Wee Yong
Department of Neurology, Grand River Hospital, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease with purported environmental causes. Consistent correlations have been found in various settings for latitude, smoking exposure, sunlight, and vitamin D deficiency. We analysed the contribution of various environmental factors to the risk of developing MS from a population perspective.

Methods: We collated global data of MS prevalence from 54 studies over the previous ten years and calculated the degree of risk contributed by latitude, longitude, ultraviolet radiation (from NASA satellite data and formulae for available sunlight hours), population smoking rates (from WHO data), gender, study date, study demographics, and several socioeconomic factors. We report a very significant negative correlation between MS prevalence and available ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Results: The lack of available UV radiation outweighs other factors by at least 20 fold (p<10^-8) from single variate regression analysis. Multiple regression analysis revealed that latitude and longitude are also significant factors; smoking may also provide a very minimal role. The eight prevalence studies from Scandinavia produced prevalences that were lower than expected, given their global geospatial positioning.

Conclusions: The available ultraviolet radiation is a significant environmental factor, moreso than all the other factors examined. * PMID: 21156437


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