ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A direct interaction between vitamin D and a common genetic variant may affect a person's risk of multiple sclerosis, according to British and Canadian researchers who also said that vitamin D deficiency while in the womb and early in life may increase the risk of MS later in life.

Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in MS, a neurological condition that affects 2.5 million people worldwide. Vitamin D is a major environmental factor, and the largest genetic effect comes from the region on chromosome six containing a gene variant called DRB1*1501 and from adjacent DNA sequences.

In the general population, about one in 1,000 people will develop MS. But that increases to about one in 300 among people who have a single copy of the DRB1*1501 and about one in 100 among people with two copies of the variant.

The study found that proteins activated by vitamin D in the body bind to a particular DNA sequence lying next to the DRB1*1501 variant, which causes the gene to switch on.

The study was published in the Feb. 6 edition of PLoS Genetics.

"In people with the DRB1 variant associated with MS, it seems that vitamin D may play a critical role. If too little of the vitamin is available, the gene may not function properly," study co-author Julian Knight said in a journal news release.

The researchers believe that vitamin D deficiency in mothers or even in a previous generation may lead to altered expression of DRB1*1501 in offspring.

"Our study implies that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years may reduce the risk of child developing MS in later life," lead author Dr. Sreeram Ramagopalan said in the news release. "Vitamin D is a safe and relatively cheap supplement with substantial potential health benefits. There is accumulating evidence that it can reduce the risk of developing cancer and offer protection from other autoimmune diseases."

More information

The Multiple Sclerosis Society has more about genetics and MS.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: PLoS Genetics, news release, Feb. 5, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 05, 2009

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