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Past exposure to sun, skin phenotype, and risk of multiple sclerosis: case-control study

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van der Mei, IAF, Ponsonby, AL, Dwyer, T, Blizzard, CL, Simmons, R, Taylor, BV, Butzkueven, H and Kilpatrick, T 2003 , 'Past exposure to sun, skin phenotype, and risk of multiple sclerosis: case-control study' , British Medical Journal, vol. 327, No. 7410 , pp. 316-320 , doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7410.316.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether past high sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis. DESIGN: Population based case-control study. SETTING: Tasmania, latitudes 41-3 degrees S. PARTICIPANTS: 136 cases with multiple sclerosis and 272 controls randomly drawn from the community and matched on sex and year of birth. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Multiple sclerosis defined by both clinical and magnetic resonance imaging criteria. RESULTS: Higher sun exposure when aged 6-15 years (average 2-3 hours or more a day in summer during weekends and holidays) was associated with a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis (adjusted odds ratio 0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.16 to 0.59). Higher exposure in winter seemed more important than higher exposure in summer. Greater actinic damage was also independently associated with a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis (0.32, 0.11 to 0.88 for grades 4-6 disease). A dose-response relation was observed between multiple sclerosis and decreasing sun exposure when aged 6-15 years and with actinic damage. CONCLUSION: Higher sun exposure during childhood and early adolescence is associated with a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis. Insufficient ultraviolet radiation may therefore influence the development of multiple sclerosis.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:van der Mei, IAF and Ponsonby, AL and Dwyer, T and Blizzard, CL and Simmons, R and Taylor, BV and Butzkueven, H and Kilpatrick, T
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, case-control study, sun exposure, ultraviolet radiation, skin
Journal or Publication Title: British Medical Journal
ISSN: 0959-535X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1136/bmj.327.7410.316
Additional Information:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/327/7410/316

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