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Monday, November 12, 2012

Interactive Tool: Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D


November 2012

In recent years, researchers have been digging into potential causes of multiple sclerosis (MS). One hypothesis is that MS has something to do with how much intense sun you are exposed to during your childhood years. Some researchers believe that intense sunlight provides needed vitamin D to your body—and without this vitamin D, you could be at a higher risk for developing MS as you get older.
Certain parts of the world have higher average UV (ultraviolet) radiation exposure—in other words, they are exposed to more intense sunlight. These are the countries close to the equator. Countries closer to the north and south pole get much less intense sunlight, and therefore, much less UV exposure.
Do the people who live in these countries have vitamin D deficiencies? Are they more likely to have MS? 
In order to figure this out, we've put together a tool to help you visualize information on MS prevalence rates, vitamin D levels and intensity of sun exposure worldwide. By clicking on each variable on the map bellow you'll be able to compare their distribution around the world—and, perhaps, discover a few patterns along the way.  
Choose one item at a time below to view the corresponding statistic on the map:
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