Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

MS 'linked to virus and sunlight'

  • Comment

Multiple sclerosis may be linked to a combination of a viral infection and a lack of sunlight, research has indicated.

Together the two factors accounted for 72% of variations in the number of MS cases across the UK, researchers from Oxford University found.

Around 61% of the difference between high and low rates of MS could be explained by levels of sunlight exposure alone.

Previous studies have established a link between the development of MS and patients with a history of glandular fever, a common infectious illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Individuals whose skin is exposed to little sunlight are also found to be more at risk of the condition.

The latest study, published online in the journal Neurology, looked at all admissions to NHS hospitals in England over a period of seven years.

“We wanted to see whether the two together would help explain the variance in the disease across the United Kingdom,” said lead researcher Dr George Ebers, of Oxford University.

MS is an autoimmune disease which destroys myelin, the fatty insulating sheath that surrounds nerve fibres.

Loss of myelin leads to the disruption of nerve signals and symptoms ranging from mild tingling and numbness to paralysis.

Around 100,000 people in the UK suffer from the condition.

Research has shown that MS is more common at higher latitudes away from the equator, where there is less exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.