Fluctuations of MS births and UV-light exposure

F Verheul, J Smolders, M Trojano, V Lepore, C Zwanikken, M Amato, F Grand'Maison, H Butzkueven, M Marrosu, P Duquette, G Comi, G Izquierdo, P Grammond, G Lus, Thor Peterson, R Bergamaschi, G Giuliani, C Boz, G Coniglio, V Van PeschJ Lechner-Scott, P Cavalla, F Granella, C Avolio, M Fiol, D Poehlau, M Saladino, P Gallo, N Deri, W Oleschko Arruda, Mark Paine, M Ferro, Michael Barnett, J Cabrera-Gomez, Mark Slee, F Moore, C Shaw, T Petkovska-Boskova, M Rutherford, O Engelsen, J Damoiseaux, R Hupperts

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are more frequently born in spring when compared to autumn. Fluctuation of UV-light has been hypothesized to drive this phenomenon. Aim: To assess the correlation between fluctuation of sunlight and birth season in persons with MS. Methods: For this record-linkage study, we collected from the international MSBase and the Italian MS iMed-web databases the dates of birth of 11,415 patients with MS from 36 centres from 15 countries worldwide and compared these to dates of live-births from national registries. From all participating sites, we collected data on UV-light fluctuation and assessed its correlation with seasonal fluctuation in MS births. Results: Compared with the reference cohort, an increased proportion of persons with MS were born in spring and a decreased proportion in autumn (odds ratio (OR) to be born in spring versus autumn = 1.158, χ 2 = 36.347, P < 0.001). There was no significantly increased fluctuation of MS births with increased quartile of ambient UV-light fluctuation (P trend = 0.086). Conclusion: Seasonal fluctuation of MS births as found in this worldwide cohort of patients with MS did not correlate with variation in seasonal fluctuation of UV-light. Most likely, it results from a complex interplay between fluctuation of sunlight, behavioural factors, other environmental factors and (epi)genetic factors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-308
    Number of pages8
    JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


    • Birth season
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Ultraviolet light


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