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Low vitamin D in newborns increases MS risk later
These results are the results of a study published in the November 30, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. "More research is needed to confirm these results, but they may provide important information to the ongoing debate about vitamin D for pregnant women," says author Nete Munk Nielsen, MD, MSc, PhD, State Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.
In Denmark, dried blood spot samples from newborn screening tests are stored in the Danish National Biobank. Researchers identified everyone in Denmark who was born since April 30, 1981, had onset of MS by 2012 and whose dried blood spots samples were included in the biobank. The blood from those 521 people was then compared to that of 972 people of the same sex and birthday who did not have MS.
Study participants were divided into five groups based on vitamin D level, with the bottom group having levels of less than 21 nmol/L and the top group with levels higher or equal to 49 nmol/L. There were 136 people with MS and 193 people without MS in the bottom group. In the top group, there were 89 people with MS and 198 people without the disease.
The study has several limitations:
Methods: We carried out a matched case-control study. Dried blood spots samples (DBSS) belonging to 521 patients with MS were identified in the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank. For every patient with MS, 1–2 controls with the same sex and birth date were retrieved from the Biobank (n = 972). Level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) in the DBSS was measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy. The association between different levels of 25(OH)D and risk of MS was evaluated by odds ratios (OR) calculated in conditional logistic regression models.
Results: We observed that lower levels of 25(OH)D in neonates were associated with an increased risk of MS. In the analysis by quintiles, MS risk was highest among individuals in the bottom quintile (<20.7 nmol/L) and lowest among those in the top quintile of 25(OH)D (≥48.9 nmol/L), with an OR for top vs bottom of 0.53 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36–0.78). In the analysis treating 25(OH)D as a continuous variable, a 25 nmol/L increase in neonatal 25(OH)D resulted in a 30% reduced risk of MS (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.57–0.84).
Conclusion: Low concentrations of neonatal vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of MS. In light of the high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among pregnant women, our observation may have importance for public health.
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The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 30,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.
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Newborns with levels of vitamin D less than 30 nanomoles per liter of blood, are considered born with
deficient or low vitamin D levels. Levels 30 to less than 50 nmol/L are considered vitamin D insufficient.
Image Credit: Nete Munk Nielsen, Lab, State Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark