Short and long term variation in ultraviolet radiation and multiple sclerosis

Cristina Menni, Walter E. Lowell, Joan Bentzen, Roberto Bergamaschi, Filippo Martinelli Boneschi, Vittorio Martinelli, Luisa Bernardinelli, Egon Stenager, George E. Davis, Luisa Foco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the role of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in persons diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in four different populations, Italians, Danish, White and African Americans. We tested whether variation in UVR as determined by seasons (short term variation) and solar cycles (long term variation) is related to MS birth month and to survival as measured by lifespan. Cases were selected from three Italian MS Case Registries (2,737); from the United States National Center for Health Statistics (56,020); and from the Danish Multiple Sclerosis registry (15,900). Chi-square tests were used to study the pattern of month of birth distribution in patients with MS comparing with general population data. T-tests were employed to study solar cycles association with lifespan. A surplus of births was observed in June for White Americans. A decrease of births in October and November, though not significant after multiple testing correction, was observed in the three populations. In White American with MS overall, males and females, we found that solar cycle is associated with lifespan. We found that season and solar cycles have some role in MS susceptibility and life duration. However, this is an exploratory analysis and further work is needed to discern the association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-697
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seasonality
  • Solar cycles
  • Variation in ultraviolet radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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