Low vitamin D levels may be associated with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease

Vitamin D levels are significantly lower in patients with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease, according to a study published Online First by Archives of Neurology.

Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin that promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. In recent years, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a variety of , including multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease of the central nervous system marked by numbness, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control). However, the importance of vitamin D in monophasic or recurrent non-MS spinal cord diseases including transverse myelitis and neuromyelitis optica is unknown, according to background information in the article. Transverse myelitis (TM) is a disease of the spinal cord in which there is involvement of the that protects ; symptoms include back pain and weakness in the legs. Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a disease of the that affects the and spinal cord.

Maureen A. Mealy, R.N., B.S.N., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and colleagues investigated the association between low serum vitamin D levels and recurrent spinal cord disease. They analyzed data on vitamin D levels among 77 patients with monophasic (having only one phase or stage) and recurrent of the spinal cord, adjusting for season, age, sex, and race.

The study found that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in patients who developed recurrent spinal cord disease. "Our findings suggest that there may be an association between lower total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in patients with recurrent TM/NMO/NMO spectrum disorders as compared with their counterparts with monophasic disease," the authors report.

"This is consistent with other recurrent autoimmune conditions and points to a common link between low vitamin D levels and immunologic dysregulation," they write.

The authors suggest that future studies are needed to further assess the relationship between vitamin D and recurrent spinal cord disease. "This study provides a basis for a prospective trial of measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in these patient populations and assessing the influence of supplementation on the frequency of relapses in those with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease," they conclude.

More information: Arch Neurol. 2011; Published online November 14, 2011. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.1974

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New viral tools for mapping brains

4 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A brain-computer-interphase that is optogenetically-enabled is one of the most fantastic technologies we might envision today. It is likely that its full power could only be realized under ...

Link seen between seizures and migraines in the brain

20 hours ago

Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link ...

Neuroscience: Why scratching makes you itch more

Oct 30, 2014

Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.