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Multiple Sclerosis Variance Linked to UVB Rays, Epstein-Barr

Exposure to ultraviolet B radiation, Epstein-Barr virus accounts for 72 percent of MS variance in U.K.

TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Much of the variance of multiple sclerosis (MS) in England can be explained by exposure to infectious mononucleosis (IM), caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and ultraviolet B radiation (UVB), according to a study published in the April 19 issue of Neurology.

Sreeram V. Ramagopalan, D.Phil., from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues assessed the relationship between period prevalence of MS in England and exposure to EBV and UVB. Period prevalences of MS and IM in England were determined from data on all admissions to National Health Service hospitals in England from 1998 to 2005, based on English national Hospital Episode Statistics. UVB intensity data for England was collected from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administrations Nimbus 7 satellite. The relationships between MS prevalence, IM prevalence, and UVB intensity were assessed.

The investigators found that the regression of MS against UVB for all seasons had an r² of 0.61. The r² rose to 0.72 when including the IM interaction with seasonal UVB against MS.

"We show that the distribution of MS across England is explained both by UVB exposure and the prevalence of IM," the authors write. "When our data are taken in combination with others, it gives confidence that there is a pressing need to investigate the role of vitamin D and IM and their interaction in the pathogenesis of MS."

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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