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International Vitamin D Summit comes to Scotland

Press release September 17, 2010 Health

Researchers will present the latest evidence on the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and the implications for Scottish health policy.

Researchers from around the world will gather in Glasgow next week to discuss links between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis.  The Scottish Summit on Vitamin D and MS will be opened by Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, and is the next step in the incredible Shine on Scotland campaign led by Glasgow schoolboy Ryan McLaughlin.  Ryan’s Mum has MS and he’s campaigned for well over a year now for changes to public health policy on vitamin D.

The summit is being hosted in conjunction with the MS Society Scotland and the Scottish Government and will feature speakers from Australia, Canada, and the U.S. as well as the United Kingdom.  Researchers will present the latest evidence on the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and the implications for Scottish health policy.  The Scottish Government have already pledged to undertake an awareness raising campaign on vitamin D and this has been welcomed by campaigners.  Speaking ahead of the summit Ryan McLaughlin reflected on just how far his campaign has come in a short period of time:

“It’s amazing that I only launched Shine on Scotland early last year and so much has happened since.  The petition lodged at the Scottish Parliament got great support and I’m really grateful to the Scottish Government for being prepared to look at this issue.  I hope the summit is a great success and that something positive can be done for people with MS and to prevent future generations form developing it”.

David McNiven, Director of MS Society Scotland, welcomed the fact that policy makers and researchers had this opportunity to discuss such an important matter:

“I’m hugely looking forward to the summit next week and I’m very pleased that the Society has helped provide this platform for a crucial discussion on an issue which is very significant for Scotland.  Recent evidence is very compelling on the links between vitamin D and MS and it’s great that this is being considered at the highest levels of government”.

The summit will take place at the Beardmore Hotel in Clydebank on Tuesday 21 September.  It had originally been scheduled for April but had to be rearranged due to the travel disruption caused by the volcanic ash.

Notes for editors

About Shine on Scotland 

A campaign by Ryan Mclaughlin to get vitamin D for every child and pregnant
mother as a preventative measure against Multiple Sclerosis

About the MS Society Scotland

The MS Society Scotland is dedicated to supporting everyone living with or affected by MS, providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS nurses and funds around 80 vital MS research projects in the UK.