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Vitamin D levels associated with increased disability, brain atrophy in MS patients


Lower-than-normal vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor in the progression of physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a pair of studies from the University at Buffalo.

In a cognitive-impairment study involving 236 MS patients and 22 persons without MS, researchers compared vitamin D levels in blood samples for all participants and performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for 163 of the MS patients within three months of blood sampling. According to a University at Buffalo news release, the results showed:

Only seven percent of persons with secondary-progressive MS showed sufficient vitamin D, compared to 18.3 percent of patients with the less severe relapsing-remitting type.

Higher levels of vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 metabolism byproducts (analyzed as a ratio) also were associated with better scores on disability tests, results showed, and with less brain atrophy and fewer lesions on MRI scans.

Another study compared vitamin D levels in blood samples of 136 MS patients with results of their neuropsychological assessments and found subjects who were impaired on tests of critical reasoning, abstract thinking and the ability to plan and organize were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.

Previously: Researchers map identical twins' genomes for cause of multiple sclerosis and What's the deal with vitamin D?
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