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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 09:48 PM

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis [View all]


"This is an interesting science story the fairly recent discovery that there is a potential link between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a good example of how the process of science works to incorporate new ideas.


So far we have only observational studies of the role of vitamin D in MS. It has been observed for many decades that higher latitude correlates with higher risk of developing MS. Recent, however, it has been suggested that the biological factor at work may be vitamin D levels, and reduced sun exposure leads to lower vitamin D level. Observational studies have now supported this hypothesis.


A new study, however, looked for mutations in the CYP27B1 gene, which is involved in vitamin D metabolism. If a person inherits two copies of the abnormal gene variant they will develop rickets a disease of severely low vitamin D. If they have just one copy of the abnormal variant, and one healthy variant, then they will have low vitamin D levels but not severe enough to develop rickets.


The story of vitamin D and MS is a good illustration of how science is supposed to work. A new hypothesis was introduced, which made some sense, and so investigators did preliminary research (observational studies) showing that there was a potential correlation. As the evidence grew, scientific interest grew, and researchers started to look at the question from multiple angles.



It's very difficult to summarize this piece in four paragraphs, and my cuts may only serve to confuse the issue. I highly recommend a full read of the article. It is a wonderful explanation of how science works, and how it moves forward.

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Reply Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis [View all]
HuckleB Dec 2011 OP
LeftishBrit Dec 2011 #1
HysteryDiagnosis Dec 2011 #2
HuckleB Dec 2011 #3