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Sunshine during pregnancy 'cuts risk of MS'

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Researchers in Australia have claimed that babies born in sunnier months are at a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in later life.

A study found that women who are pregnant during the winter months and do not get sufficient sunshine - cutting off their main source of vitamin D - could increase their offspring’s chances of developing MS.

Researchers believe that the development of a baby’s central nervous and immune system could be affected by variations in exposure to natural sunlight in pregnancy.

Around 100,000 people in the UK suffer from MS, which is caused by damage to a protective sheath surrounding the nerve fibres of the central nervous system known as myelin.

The latest study from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and the Australian National University noted that exposure to sunlight in the first trimester of pregnancy and the early part of the second trimester played a key role.

For babies whose mothers did not get enough sun, the chance of developing MS was 32% higher if they were born in early summer months than if they were born in early winter. The research was published in the British Medical Journal.

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