|4-day-old newborn lies in a baby bed in a maternity ward August 12, 2011 Brandenburg, Germany. Courtesy of getty Images/Sean Gallup|
When you are born could affect whether you develop multiple sclerosis, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The study, conducted by a group of British researchers, showed those born in October and November were 5 to 7 per cent less likely to develop MS than then average person, while those born in April were 5 per cent more likely.
Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms vary but can include loss of balance, numbness, muscle loss and problems walking. The disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, and typically affects more women than men. Ozzy Osbourne’s son, Jack Osbourne, announced earlier this year that he has MS. It is not known what causes the disorder but it thought to be genetic and that environmental factors play a role.
The researchers reviewed previously published studies on 152,000 people with MS, and concluded that maternal vitamin D deficiency was a cause for the disease. “We looked at all published studies about the month of birth in MS patients, and by pulling them all together we were able to show quite conclusively a month of birth effect going on,” said Dr. Ram Ramagopalan, one of the co-authors from the Queen Mary, University of London. They found that in northern parts of England, the Scandinavian countries and most of Russia and Canada, there was not enough ultraviolet light to enable the body to make enough vitamin D.
The data was taken from people born between 1930 and 1980, from studies done in Britain, the United States, Italy, Israel, Finland, Scotland, Sweden and Canada. “After seeing the results of the study we strongly believe governments and their agencies should be promoting and ensuring pregnant mothers are taking vitamin D supplements,” he said.
According to Health Canada’s website, pregnant women are advised to take 600 IU (international units) daily. The researchers are taking their findings to the U.K.’s Department of Health, to arguer it should increase the amount of vitamin D pregnant women are advised to take. Ramagopalan says the recommended amount for both the U.K. and Canada is on the low side. He would like to see pregnant women taking about 1,000 IU daily.
Source: Metro news Canada