Reduced Risk for Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Greater Sun Exposure

Girl standing in the sunlight
Girl standing in the sunlight
Risk of multiple sclerosis may be reduced with high sun exposure.

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

Helen Tremlett, PhD, 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% lower MS risk (adjusted relative risk [RR], 0.55). For medium or high sun exposure, similar reduced risks (51% to 52%) were seen at ages 5 to 15 years and at 5 to 15 years before MS onset (adjusted P <.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.

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“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.


Tremlett H, Zhu F, Ascherio A, Munger KL. Sun exposure over the life course associations with multiple sclerosis [published online March 7, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005257