Multiple Sclerosis symptoms worse in the summer? I was scanning around the inter webs this morning and came across the article, ” Melatonin and multiple sclerosis: Why MS symptoms may improve as the days get shorter.” The article was posted on Science Daily and revolved around a study performed at the Brigham Women’s Hospital. I was compelled to read the article as it was very counter-intuative for me as I have always found the winter to be a tough time symptom wise, especially in February/March.
In summary, the research team looked at 139 RRMS patients (who I believe were located in Argentina, though that isn’t clear from the article). What they found was that as the longer summer days caused the patients melatonin level to drop, the patients symptoms increased. The team found that, “melatonin has a protective effect. It dampens the immune response and helps keep the bad guys — or pathogenic T cells — at bay.” The article cautions MSers that these are preliminary findings and not to attempt to try supplementing with melatonin on their own.
The reason I found this interesting is that I have always struggled with symptoms during the winter months and I have found February and March particularly brutal. So much so that my wife and I plan a yearly getaway in either February or March for 5-7 days to some place warm to combat these affects. However, now that I think about it, these yearly trips don’t actually oppose these findings. The days are pretty short in Mexico when we arrive and this study is not about temperature but rather shorter days (daylight).
Either way it is an interesting read.