Low Sunlight Exposure + Mononucleosis = Greater Risk for MS?

Okay, this is a bit creepy, because not only did I grow up in Northern Alberta (that would perhaps be the low sunlight exposure, although I’m pretty sure it was sunnier there than it is in Vancouver) I also, in grade 10, came down with Mononucleosis. I remember because I got teased a long time for getting “the kissing disease”… why the heck is it called that anyway?

This is a post from a very interesting blog about all kinds of health stuff; please CLICK HERE to go to the original blog! It’s called “A Health Blog” and it’s pretty great.

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Low Sunlight Exposure Plus Common Virus May Raise Multiple Sclerosis Risk

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New research suggests that people who are exposed to low levels of sunlight coupled with a history of having a common virus known as mononucleosis may be at greater odds of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) than those without the virus.

“Multiple sclerosis is more common at higher latitudes, farther away from the equator,” said study author George C. Ebers. “Since the disease has been linked to environmental factors such as low levels of sun exposure and a history of infectious mononucleosis, we wanted to see whether the two together would help explain the variance in the disease across the United Kingdom.”

Infectious mononucleosis is a disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a Herpes virus that is extremely common but causes no symptoms in most people. However, when a person contracts the virus as a teenager or adult, it often leads to infectious mononucleosis. The body makes vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

For the study, researchers looked at all hospital admissions to National Health Service hospitals in England over seven years. Specifically, they identified 56,681 cases of multiple sclerosis and 14,621 cases of infectious mononucleosis. Scientists also looked at NASA data on ultraviolet intensity in England.

The study found that adding the effects of sunlight exposure and mononucleosis together explained 72 percent of the variance in the occurrence of multiple sclerosis across the United Kingdom. Sunlight exposure alone accounted for 61 percent of the variance.

“It’s possible that vitamin D deficiency may lead to an abnormal response to the Epstein-Barr virus,” Ebers said.

He noted that low sunlight exposure in the spring was most strongly associated with multiple sclerosis risk. “Lower levels of UVB in the spring season correspond with peak risk of multiple sclerosis by birth month. More research should be done on whether increasing UVB exposure or using vitamin D supplements and possible treatments or vaccines for the Epstein-Barr virus could lead to fewer cases of multiple sclerosis.”

References:
1. Ramagopalan, et al. Relationship of UV exposure to prevalence of multiple sclerosis in England. Neurology, April 19, 2011; Pages: 1410-1414
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Coping with Multiple Sclerosis

I’ve been looking around for posts or articles or videos that are more positive about MS, and they can be a little tricky to find! There are hundreds of posts out there about how horrible it is, but I want to find different ways of looking at it and dealing or coping with it. Here’s a great article listing five ways to cope with MS. Let me know what you think by commenting below!

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5 Ways to Cope With Multiple Sclerosis

I will never forget June 5, 2008. That is the day I heard the words “You have Multiple Sclerosis” from my doctor. When I got the diagnosis I didn’t cry. I think I didn’t cry because I wasn’t really sure what Multiple Sclerosis was. Unfortunately it didn’t take me long to learn. Shortly after my diagnosis, I had a relapse which prevented me from walking, dressing myself, feeding myself, and from doing a lot of other daily routines. Fortunately, my relapse ended, but unfortunately, I had a few more. The following is 5 ways I found to cope with Multiple Sclerosis

1. Get a copy of the ‘Voices of MS’ Documentary DVD. I had been diagnosed a little over a year before picking up a copy of this DVD. It was recommended to me by an acquaintance who has MS. This documentary features others who have Multiple sclerosis (including David Lander who played “Squiggy” from the television show Laverne and Shirley). The people in the documentary talk about what brought them to their diagnosis and how they live day by day with it. This is not only a great DVD to watch to help you cope, it is also great for your friends and family to watch as well.

2. Understand this diagnosis is also hard for your loved ones. If you have just been diagnosed or have had MS for a while, I am sure you have a lot of unanswered questions. Sometimes, especially when having a relapse, it is easy to feel all alone and feel that no one understands what you are going through. While those close to you may try to understand, they may have a hard time because they do not fully understand what the disease is or are in denial about it. It is very important that you sit down with them and answer any questions they may have and explain how it affects you.

3. Make sure your Medication is right for you. When you are diagnosed, the doctor will usually prescribe medication that he or she feels will help you the best. Unfortunately, the medication initially prescribed may not be the right one for you. Always make sure you are fully aware of any side effects it may have. Always let your Neurologist know if you are experiencing any of these side effects so he or she can put you on something else. The only way to really know what medication is best for your situation is by trial and error.

4.Join an online or offline support group. I feel this is one of the best ways to cope with MS. Why? While friends and family may try to understand the situation and help you, they may not fully understand what you are going through. Do a Google search to see if there are support groups close by. If not (or if you do not wish to go to meetings) do a search for online groups. Not only will it help to connect with people who have MS, you can also get updates on new medications and guidance from others who have gotten disability.

5.Watch for the warning signs of depression. At some point, a large percentage of people with MS get depression. This is either caused by the disease itself, the stress of dealing with the disease, or from the medication. If you have sadness that lasts for a long period of time, it is imperative that you talk to your doctor as they can look into treatments that will help you. If you are suffering even with treatment and feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, please visit call 1-800-SUICIDE. You can also visit http://suicidehotlines.com for specific state and international suicide hotline numbers.

The above are just 5 of the many ways to cope with MS. In addition to the 5 tips above, the best way to cope with Multiple Sclerosis is to remember that it is not a death sentence and it is possible to live a normal happy life.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Madison_Gregory

MS and Caregivers

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Multiple Sclerosis and Caregivers from Michael Yonchenko on Vimeo.

“Multiple Sclerosis and Caregivers” is a look at the challenges of surviving in a relationship that includes giving care.

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Wow, maybe I’ve been a little selfish and a little ignorant, but because I’m not dealing with a Caregiver myself, I forgot what an important part of the equation they are. Kudos to this amazing video for pointing it out!