Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 6, P684-688, November 2014

Vitamin D status and age of onset of demyelinating disease


      • Prevalence of low vitamin D status is similar between age of disease onset cohorts.
      • Non-Caucasian race and obesity are significantly associated with low vitamin D.
      • Obesity rates are significantly higher in childhood-onset demyelinating disease.



      To evaluate the prevalence of and associated factors impacting vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency in childhood versus adult-onset demyelinating disease.


      We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional, chart-review, cohort study on geographically-similar pediatric, young adult, and adult patients with a diagnosis of demyelinating disease identified at the University of Virginia from 2008 to 2013. Group prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency as well as relevant factors associated with vitamin D status was analyzed and compared.


      We identified 24 childhood-onset (CO), 33 young adult-onset (Y-AO), and 59 adult-onset (AO) cases. There was no difference in the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency between the cohorts. Non-Caucasian race and elevated body mass index were significantly associated with low vitamin D levels, regardless of age of onset. In regression models, race and obesity were independent predictors of vitamin D status. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher in the childhood-onset cohort (CO=58.5%; Y-AO=31%; AO=34%; p=0.02).


      Our findings demonstrate no difference in the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency between childhood and adult-onset demyelinating disease, suggesting age at disease onset is irrelevant to vitamin D status in demyelinating disease. Both race and obesity are independent factors associated with vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency, regardless of age of disease onset. Obesity, independent of gender, is significantly higher in children compared to adult patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and may have a role in the development of childhood-onset demyelinating disease.


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