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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Remote vitamin D sampling in the UK Multiple Sclerosis population

A study of vitamin D levels in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the UK has demonstrated the feasibility of a large-scale research project based on remote sampling using dried blood spots.

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In the first study to access an MS population across an entire nation, researchers used the UK MS register to include people not necessarily in regular contact with neurologists or seen in the larger MS care centres, and not often represented in MS research. Participants completed 1768 remotely deployed questionnaires, and remotely collected biological samples (dried blood spots) were provided by 388 people with MS and 309 controls. The results showed that the UK MS population has higher serum vitamin D levels than controls, mainly from vitamin D supplementation. The study, led by Wolfson researchers, has demonstrated the feasibility of performing a large-scale research project entirely remotely.

Author Dr Ruth Dobson said:  Remote sampling works, and people are keen to take part in these kinds of studies, even recruiting friends to participate with them. Our result that most people with MS take vitamin D supplements, and at relatively high doses, means we would need to think carefully about the design and ethical implications of any vitamin D trial in the MS population.


Remote testing of vitamin D levels across the UK MS population – a case control study.

Nicola Vickaryous, Mark Jitlal, Benjamin Meir Jacobs, Rod Middleton, Siddharthan Chandran, Niall John James MacDougall, Gavin Giovannoni, Ruth Dobson. PlosOne 2020


This study was funded by the UK MS Society, and the work was performed in the Preventive Neurology Unit, which is funded by Barts Charity.