Guest post: New study – Are people living with MS in the UK vitamin D deficient?

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Help us spread the word, we have a new study open to people living with MS in the UK! This study is looking at vitamin D levels in the MS population and we know that vitamin D research is one of the top research priorities for people living with MS. This strong interest in vitamin D research has been demonstrated by the overwhelming response we have had to this study – but we still need more participants! 


The more people we can hear from the better we can understand the vitamin D status in the MS UK population and the factors that influence it. This information can be used to help design future vitamin D randomised control trails so it is really important.

This is a new type of study for us and it uses remote sampling. This means that we can involve people from all across the UK – it doesn’t matter where you live or how mobile you are. We think that remote data gathering and sampling could be a useful research tool to study other aspects of MS as well. So assessing the feasibility of using remote sampling technologies amongst the population is another thing we are interested in.


What’s involved?


This study has two parts – the first part involves answering a questionnaire that looks into various lifestyle factors that can affect your vitamin D levels. This includes questions about your diet, outdoor activity levels, sunblock usage and, of course, vitamin D supplementation habits. The more responses we have to this the better!


The second part to the study will involve selected participants being sent sampling kits to their home. For this part of the study we ask that each participant invites a friend to participate – someone who is the same sex, similar age and lives nearby. Your friend will serve in our matched control group and allow us to look at differences between the people with MS and people without MS.


The sampling kits include everything needed to send us finger prick blood spots and cheek swabs so we can look at vitamin D levels and the genetic factors that influence it. We will only be sending these kits to 500 participants so please don’t worry if you don’t get one. These will be sent out over the course of a year so even if you are selected you may not receive a kit for some time!


Interested?


We think this study will be of real interest to people living with MS, and it is easy to participate. There are no visits to meet our researchers and it can all be done from your home. The best way to get involved with this study is through the MS Register where you can find a link to the study. But if you are not on the MS Register or don’t wish to participate that way you can email Nikki to express an interest and receive the Patient Information Sheet.


by Nikki Vickaryous 



Nikki Vickaryous is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant that has recently joined Dr Ruth Dobson and her team in the Preventive Neurology Unit, Queen Mary University of London.

About the author

Rebecca Aldam

4 comments

  • There's articles on the web at the moment about wearing fake tan can contribute to low vitamin D status. This is separate to sun block usage.

    Thought this is interesting with fake tans being in fashion.

  • Thanks for your questions and comments.

    True, smoking correlates with lower vitamin D levels. In addition to supplementation we are using our questionnaire to capture other environmental factors that influence vitamin D like diet, smoking, sunblock/sunblock containing cosmetics and outdoor activity.

    This is mainly a quantitative study however there are some qualitative aspects around supplementation behaviours.

By Rebecca Aldam

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