Public Release: 

Drinking milk during pregnancy may lower baby's risk of MS

American Academy of Neurology

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.

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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.

Editor's Notes: Study authors are available for advance interviews. Please contact Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com.

Non-late breaking abstracts to be presented at the AAN Annual Meeting will be posted online in advance of the AAN Annual Meeting at 4 pm, ET, Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at http://www.aan.com/go/science/abstracts. Late-breaking abstracts will not be posted online in advance of the Annual Meeting and will remain embargoed until the date and time of presentation of the late-breaking abstract at the AAN Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 10-17, 2010. Late-breaking abstracts will be featured in press release and in press conference at the 2010 AAN Annual Meeting in Toronto. To register to attend the AAN Annual Meeting Press Room in Toronto, visit http://www.aan.com/go/press/registration.

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