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