Low vi­ta­min D linked to MS risk: gene study

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

A ma­jor ge­netic study Tues­day con­firmed a link be­tween low vi­ta­min D and a higher risk of mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis (MS), a find­ing which ex­perts say could lead to bet­ter treat­ment and preven­tion.

Pre­vi­ous ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies have found an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween a per­son’s level of vi­ta­min D, which comes from sun­light and from cer­tain foods, and MS, a de­bil­i­tat­ing au­toim­mune dis­ease that af­fects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, and has no known cause or cure.

But the prob­lem with these stud­ies was that they could not prove that low vi­ta­min D caused MS, and may in­deed have been show­ing sim­ply that peo­ple who were sick tended to stay in­side more and get less sun­light.

The latest study by Brent Richards, from McGill Univer­sity, Canada, and col­leagues pub­lished this week in PLOS Medicine, gets around that ob­sta­cle by an­a­lyz­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween ge­net­i­cally re­duced vi­ta­min D lev­els and the like­li­hood of MS in a pool of 14,498 peo­ple with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and 24,091 healthy con­trols.

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