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In 1960, Donald Acheson1 made the seminal observation that the global distribution of multiple sclerosis (MS) may be related to available hours of sunshine; this observation was met with disbelief at the time. However, over the subsequent more than 50 years, it has become clear that he may well be right. The effect of sunlight exposure and subsequent vitamin D production (generated by photolysis of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin by ultraviolet radiation (UVR)) on the onset and progression of MS has become a significant research focus particularly over the last 10 years, with large-scale clinical trials of vitamin D intervention now underway in many countries.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.