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Shedding light on the link between early life sun exposure and risk of multiple sclerosis: results from the EnvIMS Study

Author: Sandra Magalhaes, Maura Pugliatti, Trond Riise, Kjell-Morten Myhr, Antonio Ciampi, Kjetil Bjornevik, Christina Wolfson
Year: 2018
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in the International Journal of Epidemiology


Lower levels of sun exposure in childhood have been suggested to be associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). In this paper we extend previous work, using two novel analytical strategies.


The analyses included 2251 cases and 4028 controls. The accumulation model was found to be the best model, which demonstrated a nearly 50% increased risk of MS comparing lowest reported summer sun exposure with highest [risk ratio (RR) = 1.47 (1.24, 1.74)]. The latent sun exposure behaviour group, characterized by low sun exposure during summer and winter and high sun protection use, had the highest risk of MS; a 76% increased risk as compared with the group with high sun exposure and low sun protection use [RR = 1.76 (1.27, 2.46)].


Our analyses provide novel insights into the link between sun exposure and MS. We demonstrate that more time indoors during childhood and early adolescence is linked with MS risk, and that sun protection behaviours in those who spend most time indoors may play a key role in increasing risk.