Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Many Factors of Multiple Sclerosis

A plethora of studies are finding many factors in the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). New studies are being conducted all the time to try and determine factors of this poorly understood disease.

Some studies have found that geographic location, genetics and birth month are factors, while other studies show that sex, lifestyle habits and a lack of vitamin D are factors for MS.

One study has shown that those living in high altitudes are at a higher risk for the disease. Researchers think this may be related to a lack of ultra-violet radiation, which hinders the amount of vitamin D that is produced. Those living at higher altitudes are shown to have a deficiency in vitamin D and MS is more prevalent in these areas.

Other studies have shown that infants born in May have a higher risk for MS, while those born in November have a much lower risk. Again, this is attributed to a lack of vitamin D, since mothers who give birth in May are pregnant during the winter and have less exposure to sunlight.

It has also been found that identical twins have a higher incidence of the disease than other siblings and unrelated people. This suggests that genetics may play a role in developing the disease.

Some studies have linked the disease to genetics in a different way, finding that Scandinavians concentrated in Northern and Western areas have a higher rate of multiple sclerosis, while British migrants to Africa have a lower rate. Researchers think this could be due to genetics, as well as geographical factors.

Studies have also found that those who smoke have a higher risk, making researchers wonder if lifestyle habits also play a role in the development of the disease.

MS often affects people in childhood and last a lifetime, but the causes are still clearly unknown.

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