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Higher levels of reported sun exposure, and not vitamin D status, are associated with less depressive symptoms and fatigue in multiple sclerosis


Knippenberg, S and Damoiseaux, J and Bol, Y and Hupperts, R and Taylor, BV and Ponsonby, A-L and Dwyer, T and Simpson, S and van der Mei, IAF, Higher levels of reported sun exposure, and not vitamin D status, are associated with less depressive symptoms and fatigue in multiple sclerosis, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 129, (2) pp. 123-131. ISSN 0001-6314 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Blackwell Munksgaard

DOI: doi:10.1111/ane.12155


Objective: Insufficient sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency have both been associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). Depressi on, anxiety, fatigue and cognitive impairment are prevalent and disabling symptoms in MS. Our objective was to examine the associations between personal sun exposure and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), and depression, anxiety, fatigue and cognition.

Methods: A total of 198 participants with multiple sclerosis were followed prospectively for an average of 2.3 years. Assessments of serum 25(OH)D, sun exposure, depression, anxiety and fatigue were carried out biannually; cognition was assessed annually.

Results: Personal reported sun exposure was inversely associated with depression scores (β −0.26 (95%CI −0.40, −0.12);P ≤ 0.001) and fatigue scores (β −0.65 (95%CI −1.23, −0.07); P = 0.028). Only high levels of 25(OH)D (>80 nm) were inversely associated depression scores (β −0.64 (95%CI −1.15, −0.13); P = 0.015), but this was not significant after adjustment for reported sun exposure. No associations were seen between reported sun exposure or serum 25(OH)D levels and anxiety or cognition scores.

Conclusion: We found that higher levels reported sun exposure, rather than 25(OH)D levels, were associated with less depressive symptoms and levels of fatigue. The role of UV or light therapy will need to be evaluated in randomized controlled trials to confirm an effect on these symptoms in MS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:multiple sclerosis, sun exposure, vitamin D, depression, anxiety, fatigue
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Taylor, BV (Professor Bruce Taylor)
UTAS Author:Simpson, S (Dr Steve Simpson JR)
UTAS Author:van der Mei, IAF (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
ID Code:85046
Year Published:2014 (online first 2013)
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (435713)
Web of Science® Times Cited:40
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2013-06-12
Last Modified:2016-09-30

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