Otago University researchers have contributed to a large international study that has shed light on the cause of multiple sclerosis.
The researchers say one of the controversies over the disease is whether damage to the nervous system is primarily a degenerative process or results from a failure of the immune system.
They say the study strongly supports the second theory, but researchers still don't understand what causes or triggers the immune dysfunction.
The study has also corroborated earlier findings that linked Vitamin D to multiple sclerosis. Researchers now want to examine how increased dosages could lessen the effects of the disease or even prevent it.
Some 1100 of the 3000 New Zealanders living with multiple sclerosis contributed to the study, which is published in the journal Nature.