Month of birth linked to MS risk

Month of birth linked to MS risk

Children born in November are less likely to develop immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study claims. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Oxford believe the development of a baby's immune system and their vitamin D levels can be directly linked to the month they were born in. At present, around 100,000 people in the UK live with MS. The neurological condition causes the body's immune system to damage the central nervous system, leading to loss of vision, hearing, memory and control of muscles. The study found that those born in November had the lowest risk of being diagnosed with the condition, while children born in May had the highest. Researchers examined blood extracted from newborn baby's umbilical cords. 50 of these were born in November and 50 in May. Results found that May babies had vitamin D levels which were on average 20 per cent lower than those born during November. Co-author Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan, a lecturer in neuroscience at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: "By showing that month of birth has a measurable impact on in utero immune system development, this study provides a potential biological explanation for the widely observed 'month of birth' effect in MS."

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