ST. PAUL, Minn. Drinking milk during pregnancy may help reduce your baby’s
chances of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as an adult, according to a
preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy
of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010.
The study involved 35,794 nurses whose mothers completed a questionnaire in 2001
about their experiences and diet during pregnancy with their nurse-daughter. Of
the nurses studied, 199 women developed MS over the 16-year study period.
Researchers found that the risk of MS was lower among women born to mothers with
high milk or dietary vitamin D intake in pregnancy.
The risk of MS among daughters whose mothers consumed four glasses of milk per
day was 56 percent lower than daughters whose mothers consumed less than three
glasses of milk per month, said Fariba Mirzaei, MD, with the Harvard School of
Public Health in Boston. We also found the risk of MS among daughters whose
mothers were in the top 20 percent of vitamin D intake during pregnancy was 45
percent lower than daughters whose mothers were in the bottom 20 percent for
vitamin D intake during pregnancy.
There is growing evidence that that vitamin D has an effect on MS. The results
of this study suggest that this effect may begin in the womb, said Mirzaei.
Fortified milk, fatty fish such as salmon and exposure to sunlight are the most
important sources of vitamin D.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,000
neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the
highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with
specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain
and nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease),
dementia, epilepsy and migraine. For more information about the American Academy
of Neurology and the AAN Annual Meeting, visit http://www.aan.com.
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