Perth : Some neurologists believe that the debilitating forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) could soon come to an end thanks to vitamin D.
A world first clinical trial will investigate the role vitamin D could play in preventing MS.
MSWA chief executive Marcuss Stafford said there was already indicators that vitamin D could play a role in the disease.
“The further you are born from the equator, the greater your likelihood of contracting MS, the second clue that we have is that there is a variation in genes that metabolise vitamin D and the third key clue that has led us down this path is that there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and relapses within MS as well,” WA Today quoted Stafford as saying.
MS, which is an incurable disease, manifests itself differently in individuals but affects the central nervous system and can, to varying degrees, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
There are currently no evidence-based interventions to prevent the development of it.
The trial would not involve people with diagnosed MS, but people in the early stages of showing MS symptoms.
It would look at the progress of those individuals towards MS.
The trial will be overseen by local neurologist Professor Bill Carroll from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and will involve 290 patients from across Australia and New Zealand.
“In this prevention trial we’ll be giving patients three different levels of vitamin D while others will be given a placebo,” he said.
“The link between vitamin D and MS appears strong.
“What we don’t know is how important this vitamin D effect might be or what the optimum dose of vitamin D might be. This study will give us those answers,” he added.
The trial will run for four years, and researchers will start to recruit patients who have experienced their first MS-like symptoms this month.