ORIGINAL COMMUNICATION

Journal of Neurology

, Volume 253, Issue 1, pp 38-44

First online:

Seasonal fluctuation of multiple sclerosis births in Sardinia

  • Stefano SotgiuAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari Email author 
  • , M. PugliattiAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari
  • , M. A. SotgiuAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari
  • , M. L. FoisAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari
  • , G. ArruAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari
  • , A. SannaAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari
  • , G. RosatiAffiliated withIstituto di Clinica Neurologica, Università di Sassari

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Abstract

Study results from different geographical areas provide some circumstantial evidence that, when compared with the general population, people who later in life develop multiple sclerosis (MS) have a pattern of birth excess numbers in spring and late summer, which may disclose an association with MS–predisposing environmental agents. To identify the presence of season–related cluster of MS birth in Sardinia we have designed a case–control study in the province of Sassari, Northern Sardinia, insular Italy, an area at veryhigh and increasing risk for MS. Mean birth incidence rate of people with MS (810 cases) on a threeand six–months basis were compared with that of two control populations: the MS unaffected siblings (1069), sharing genetic material with patients, and a representative number of births (247,612) of the general population of the study area. We found that the birth in months peaking in spring significantly represents one risk factor for future MS development. This seasonal deviation of MS births reveals an intriguing epidemiological overlap with common environmental agents, which may open a new scenario of hypothetical explanations for environmental factors perhaps affecting the CNS at the crucial time of myelination or shaping the newborn immune system.

Key words

multiple sclerosis month of birth seasonality risk factors Sardinia