Relationship between MS and latitude confirmed

A META-ANALYSIS by Tasmanian researchers confirms the statistically significant positive association between MS prevalence and latitude globally.

“This is the most comprehensive meta-analysis of MS prevalence studies yet undertaken… including 650 prevalence estimates from 321 peer-reviewed studies in 59 countries between 1923 and 2009,” the authors said.

MS prevalence was higher the closer countries were to the poles, except in Italy and northern Scandinavia, due to known “genetic and behavioural” variations.

The drivers of MS include “environmental factors which vary with latitude, the most prominent candidates being ultraviolet radiation and vitamin D,” the authors said.

J Neur Neurosurg Psych, online 8 Apr