Fluctuations of MS births and UV-light exposure

F. Verheul*, J. Smolders, M. Trojano, V. Lepore, C. Zwanikken, M.P. Amato, F. Grand'maison, H. Butzkueven, M. Marrosu, P. Duquette, G. Comi, G. Izquierdo, P. Grammond, G. Lus, T. Petersen, R. Bergamaschi, G. Giuliani, C. Boz, G. Coniglio, V. Van PeschJ. Lechner-Scott, P. Cavalla, F. Granella, C. Avolio, M Fiol, D. Poehlau, M.L. Saladino, P. Gallo, N. Deri, W. Oleschko Arruda, M. Paine, M. Ferro, M. Barnett, J.A. Cabrera-Gomez, M. Slee, F. Moore, C. Shaw, T. Petkovska-Boskova, M. Rutherford, O. Engelsen, J. Damoiseaux, R. Hupperts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are more frequently born in spring when compared to autumn. Fluctuation of UV-light has been hypothesized to drive this phenomenon. AIM: To assess the correlation between fluctuation of sunlight and birth season in persons with MS. METHODS: For this record-linkage study, we collected from the international MSBase and the Italian MS iMed-web databases the dates of birth of 11,415 patients with MS from 36 centres from 15 countries worldwide and compared these to dates of live-births from national registries. From all participating sites, we collected data on UV-light fluctuation and assessed its correlation with seasonal fluctuation in MS births. RESULTS: Compared with the reference cohort, an increased proportion of persons with MS were born in spring and a decreased proportion in autumn (odds ratio (OR) to be born in spring versus autumn = 1.158, chi(2) = 36.347, P < 0.001). There was no significantly increased fluctuation of MS births with increased quartile of ambient UV-light fluctuation (Ptrend = 0.086). CONCLUSION: Seasonal fluctuation of MS births as found in this worldwide cohort of patients with MS did not correlate with variation in seasonal fluctuation of UV-light. Most likely, it results from a complex interplay between fluctuation of sunlight, behavioural factors, other environmental factors and (epi)genetic factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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