ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
FITNESS
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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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