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Vol. 20, No. 3, 2001
Issue release date: August 2001
Section title: Original Paper
Neuroepidemiology 2001;20:168–174
(DOI:10.1159/000054783)

Regional Variation in Multiple Sclerosis Prevalence in Australia and Its Association with Ambient Ultraviolet Radiation

van der Mei I.A.F.a · Ponsonby A.-L.b,c · Blizzard L.b · Dwyer T.b
aCooperative Research Centre for Discovery of Genes for Common Human Diseases at the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research, and bMenzies Centre for Population Health Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart; cAcademic Unit of General Practice and Community Care, Canberra Clinical School, University of Sydney, Australia
email Corresponding Author

I.A.F. van der Mei

Menzies Centre for Population Health Research

17 Liverpool Street

Hobart, Tasmania 7000 (Australia)

Tel. +61 3 6226 7700, Fax +61 3 6226 7704, E-Mail Ingrid.vanderMei@utas.edu.au

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to conduct an ecological analysis of the extent to which ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels might explain the regional variation of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Australia. MS prevalence data for six Australian regions were compared with UVR levels of the largest city in each region, with some other climatic variables and with the melanoma incidence in the same regions. A close association was found between the theoretical MS prevalence predicted from UVR levels and the actual prevalence. Furthermore, the negative correlation between UVR and MS prevalence (r = –0.91, p = 0.01) was higher than the positive correlation observed for UVR and malignant melanoma incidence (r = 0.75, p = 0.15 for males and r = 0.80, p = 0.10 for females). This study demonstrated that the regional variation in MS prevalence in the continent of Australia could be closely predicted by regional UVR levels. It is consistent with the hypothesis that UVR exposure may reduce the risk of MS possibly via T-lymphocyte-mediated immunosuppression. Analytical epidemiology studies are required to investigate this specific hypothesis.

© 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Published online: 8/3/2001

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NED


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