ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Get to Know the Pap Test
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
CAREGIVING
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
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
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
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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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