MS and latitude--
There is a most certain link between MS and the amount of sunshine we receive. The connection of higher MS prevalence for those living in northern latitudes has been long-established---based on 30 years of research. This fact is often used to explain why Canada, Ireland and Scotland have higher rates of MS than those who live nearer the equator.
(NOTE-This does not mean living at a northern latitude causes MS. It means there is an environmental link which has been scientifically noted regarding northern latitudes and the prevalence of MS diagnoses.)
Dr. Furchgott and the Discovery of Photorelaxation
I've been reading up on the effect of UV rays on the body, and I came back to the research of Nobel prize winning researcher, Dr. Robert F. Furchgott. He passed away in 2009, and his university keeps his web page online. Dr. Furchgott was a professor at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY---the same place where Dr. Sal Sclafani recently retired and where the first CCSVI conference was held in the US! Here's Dr. Furchgott's page--
http://www.downstate.edu/pharmacology/f ... hgott.html
Dr. Furchgott discovered the process of photorelaxation over 40 years ago. What he noted in the lab was that exposure to UV rays changed the endothelium, encouraging nitric oxide production and vasodilation of arteries. In 2009, before he passed, he stated the current working hypothesis--
The present working hypothesis is that light photoactivates some material in the vascular smooth muscle, causing the release of some product which stimulates the guanylyl cyclase to produce cGMP. We are planning experiments to test this hypothesis. One possibility is that the vascular smooth muscle in vivo accumulates some "end pro" formed from the endothelium-derived nitric oxide, and that this product releases NO intracellularly when exposed to the proper wavelengths of light.
Photorelaxation and the Cardiovascular system
Research into the connection of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in northern latitudes continues....and the connection appears to be that of nitric oxide and UV rays.
http://circres.ahajournals.org/cgi/cont ... 05/10/1031
Interestingly, mean systolic and diastolic pressures and the prevalence of hypertension vary throughout the world. Many data suggest a linear rise in blood pressure at increasing distances from the equator. Similarly, blood pressure is higher in winter than summer.3
For those who are interested and want to read more research, here's a fascinating paper on UV rays and MS by Dr. Hector DeLuca of the University of Wisconsin.
about the research: For more than 30 years, scientists have known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is much more common in higher latitudes than in the tropics. Because sunlight is more abundant near the equator, many researchers have wondered if the high levels of vitamin D engendered by sunlight could explain this unusual pattern of prevalence.
Vitamin D may reduce the symptoms of MS, says Hector DeLuca, Steenbock Research Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but in a study published in PNAS this week, he and first author Bryan Becklund suggest that the ultraviolet portion of sunlight may play a bigger role than vitamin D in controlling MS.
Here's Dr. DeLuca and Dr. Beckland's full paper.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/ ... l.pdf+html