A study reveals that those children who spend more hours under the sun may have lesser chances of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) , than their more indoor-inclined peers.
MS is a chronic, inflammatory, debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system.
It can cause a variety of symptoms, including changes in sensation, visual problems, muscle weakness, depression, difficulties with coordination and speech, severe fatigue, cognitive impairment, balancing problems, overheating and pain.
The study published in the July 24, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology looked at 79 pairs of identical twins.
The twins were asked to specify whether they or their twin spent more time outdoors during hot days, cold days and summer, and which one spent more time sun tanning, going to the beach and playing team sports as a child, reported Newswise wire.
The study found the twin with MS spent less time in the sun as a child than the twin who did not suffer from the disease.
Depending on the activity, the twin who spent more hours outdoors had a 25 to 57 percent reduced risk of developing MS. For example, the risk of developing MS was 49 percent lower for twins who spent more time sun tanning than their siblings.
The study also found the protective effect of sun exposure was seen only among female twin pairs, but scientists said this novel finding must be viewed with caution since only a few male twins were involved in the study.