Born in April? You might be at risk of multiple sclerosis

Scientists from Scotland have discovered a rather interesting phenomenon. People born in April are at a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis at a later stage in life. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially debilitating disease in which your body’s immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers your nerves. This interferes with the communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Ultimately, this may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that’s not reversible. Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which particular nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk or speak. Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose early in the course of the disease, because symptoms often come and go — sometimes disappearing for months. Although multiple sclerosis can occur at any age, it most often begins in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than are men.

 The study published in the European Journal of Neurology, suggests that mothers pregnant during the dark autumn and winter months were most likely to give birth to those who would develop the condition. The Glasgow researchers suggest that a mother’s lack of exposure to sunlight during her unborn baby’s development may explain the results. Vitamin D is produced through exposure to sunlight and has been linked to genes thought to be associated with MS. Scientists have suggested that a lack of vitamin D could trigger a predisposition to MS in a person’s genetic makeup.

Director for MS Society Scotland, David McNiven, said: “These intriguing results add weight to the evidence that the environment, and in particular sunlight, plays a part in MS and we’re pleased scientists are piecing together the complex puzzle of what may cause this debilitating condition.