Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Intake and Progression to Disability among Veterans with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Neuroepidemiology , 08/05/2011

McDowell TY et al. – These results suggest that exposure to vitamin D before Multiple Sclerosis(MS) onset might slow disease–related neurodegeneration and thus delay progression to disability among patients with the progressive subtype.


  • Among veterans in the Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry, 219 reported having the progressive form and met the inclusion criteria.
  • Participants reported their past sun exposure, vitamin D-related intake and age at disability milestones using the Patient-Determined Disease Steps (PDDS).
  • Cox proportional hazards model was used to examine the association between vitamin D-related exposures and time (years) to disability.


  • Low average sun exposure in the fall/winter before disease onset was associated with an increased risk of progressing to a PDDS score of 8 (hazard ratio, HR: 2.13, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.20-3.78), whereas use of cod liver oil during childhood and adolescence was associated with a reduced risk (HR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.20-0.96).

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