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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
MS trial to explore vitamin D links
A world-first clinical trial beginning in Hobart (Tasmania) today will assess if vitamin D can stall or prevent the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The cause of the condition is not known, but research shows those living further from the equator are at higher risk.
People who live in Tasmania are 10 times more likely to develop the condition than their counterparts in the Northern Territory.
It has long been suspected that vitamin D, or a lack of it, has a large part to play in the development of MS.
Menzies Research Institute professor Bruce Taylor says a placebo-controlled trial to begin at Royal Hobart Hospital today will hopefully give scientific proof to that hypothesis.
"We know that MS is not evenly distributed around the world," he said.
"The further you get away from the equator in a genetically susceptible population, the greater your risk of getting MS.
"That means about 90 per cent of your risk of getting MS can be due to your environment.
"Our science all points to this, that vitamin D, derived from solar radiation, may be one of the clues," Professor Taylor said.
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