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July 23, 2007

Childhood sun exposure influences risk of multiple sclerosis in monozygotic twins

Abstract

Objective: To address the role of childhood sun exposure on the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) after controlling for genetic susceptibility, we investigated the association between sun exposure and MS comparing disease-discordant monozygotic (MZ) twins.
Method: Twins with MS were sought by yearly newspaper advertisements throughout North America from 1980 to 1992. Diagnosis was verified by updated medical documentation through 2005. This analysis was restricted to 79 disease- and exposure-discordant monozygotic twin pairs who had ranked themselves before 1993 in relation to each of nine childhood sun exposure activities. A sun exposure index (SI) was defined as the sum of those exposures for which one twin ranked higher than his or her co-twin. The SI difference within each twin pair was calculated by subtracting the SI value of the affected twin from the SI value of the unaffected twin (range −9 to +9). The results were then analyzed using conditional logistic models.
Result: Each of the nine sun exposure–related activities during childhood seemed to convey a strong protection against MS within MZ twin pairs. Depending on the activity, the odds ratio (OR) ranged from 0.25 to 0.57. For example, the risk of subsequent MS was substantially lower (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.83) for the twin who spent more time suntanning in comparison with the co-twin. For each unit increase in SI, the relative risk of MS decreased by 25%.
Conclusion: Early sun avoidance seems to precede the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). This protective effect is independent of genetic susceptibility to MS.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

Neurology®
Volume 69Number 4July 24, 2007
Pages: 381-388
PubMed: 17646631

Publication History

Published online: July 23, 2007
Published in print: July 24, 2007

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Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

Talat Islam, MBBS, PhD
From the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
W. James Gauderman, PhD
From the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
Wendy Cozen, DO, MPH
From the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
Thomas M. Mack, MD, MPH
From the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Notes

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Thomas M. Mack, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, NOR 4453 Los Angeles, CA 90033 [email protected].

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Cited By
  1. Vitamin D and the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis, Feldman and Pike's Vitamin D, (1167-1184), (2024).https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-91338-6.00052-5
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  2. Vitamin D mechanisms of protection in multiple sclerosis, Feldman and Pike's Vitamin D, (1129-1166), (2024).https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-91338-6.00051-3
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  3. Vitamin D deficiency in relation with the systemic and central inflammation during multiple sclerosis, Journal of Medical Biochemistry, 42, 3, (364-375), (2023).https://doi.org/10.5937/jomb0-37676
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  4. Serum Evaluation of Human T-lymphotropic Virus Type 1 and 2 (HTLV-I/II) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Archives of Neuroscience, 10, 3, (2023).https://doi.org/10.5812/ans-135230
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  5. The role of diet in multiple sclerosis onset and course: results from a nationwide retrospective birth‐year cohort, Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 10, 8, (1268-1283), (2023).https://doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51788
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  6. Vitamin D as a Risk Factor for Multiple Sclerosis: Immunoregulatory or Neuroprotective?, Frontiers in Neurology, 13, (2022).https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2022.796933
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  7. Etiological research in pediatric multiple sclerosis: A tool to assess environmental exposures (PEDiatric Italian Genetic and enviRonment ExposurE Questionnaire), Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 7, 4, (205521732110590), (2021).https://doi.org/10.1177/20552173211059048
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  8. Childhood obesity and multiple sclerosis: A Mendelian randomization study, Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 27, 14, (2150-2158), (2021).https://doi.org/10.1177/13524585211001781
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  9. Matching participant address with public records database in a US national longitudinal cohort study, SSM - Population Health, 15, (100887), (2021).https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100887
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  10. Neuron-Specific Vitamin D Signaling Attenuates Microglia Activation and CNS Autoimmunity, Frontiers in Neurology, 11, (2020).https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00019
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