Already studies have shown that in certain populations, people born in the spring tend to develop MS, a debilitative neurological disease.
Researchers Emmanuelle Waubant and Ellen Mowry are focusing their research on a seasonal effect that is mediated by gene HLA-DRB1. People in Canada, Sweden and Norway have the HLA-DRB1*15 allele of this gene that is associated with an increased risk of MS. Earlier this week, Dr. Waubant published a study showing how race may play a factor in the study of MS.
This new study is an important step in understanding how genes and environment interact in MS.
A deficiency in Vitamin D in pregnant mothers in the spring could be a factor in the increased MS cases. Vitamin D production changes with the seasons. This study could also help show that environmental factors may cause the onset of MS.
Recently, Dr. Sreeram Ramagopalan discovered that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may reduce the risk of a child developing MS in later life. FDA government guidelines also recommend that children under five take daily vitamin D supplements.