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UV is 20X more likely to cause Multiple Sclerosis than any other environmental variable – Jan 2011

A quantitative analysis of suspected environmental causes of MS.

Can J Neurol Sci. 2011 Jan;38(1):98-105.
Sloka S1, Silva C, Pryse-Phillips W, Patten S, Metz L, Yong VW.
Department of Neurology, Grand River Hospital, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. p97jss at mun.ca

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, more so than all the other factors examined.

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