17 Dec 2012

Christchurch neurologist in world-first clinical trial for MS

9:36 pm on 17 December 2012

A Christchurch neurologist is leading part of the world's first clinical trial into whether oral vitamin D may prevent multiple sclerosis.

The trial is being conducted in both Australia and New Zealand and will include 240 people with early multiple sclerosis .

Dr Deborah Mason will oversee the New Zealanders taking part in the study, while Professor Bruce Taylor, a former Christchurch neurologist now based in Hobart, is one of the principal researchers heading the trial in Australia.

Dr Mason says the prevalence of MS in New Zealand is high compared to many other parts of the world and appears to be increasing, particularly in females.

Researchers believe New Zealanders may be particularly susceptible to MS because of the country's low latitude, which results in low levels of vitamin D.