Prospective study of risk factors of multiple sclerosis in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious neurologic disease in young adults that can lead to severe disability. There is a set of risk factors that have been suggested in many different studies to play a role in the development MS. These are a low vitamin D level, Epstein-Barr virus infection (the virus that can cause mononucleosis), cigarette smoking, and overweight/obesity in early life. Some aspects of the involvement of these risk factors are unclear; for example it is unclear whether the finding that low vitamin D level is linked to a higher risk of MS is due to vitamin D or to a lower sun exposure, which is the main source of vitamin D. Studying vitamin D from dietary intake during the winter months, in which sun exposure does not contribute to increase vitamin D levels in individuals, could answer this question. Since the cause of MS is ultimately unknown, further research is needed to identify potential novel risk factors. We propose therefore to study in combination the previously identified risk factors more thoroughly and assess potential novel risk factors such as physical activity. We will investigate the risk of MS in the mothers who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort and provided information on all the factors mentioned above.