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Excessive sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B exposure, in pregnancy may lead to a higher risk of learning disabilities in a child, according to a study The study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow
The researchers also found a slightly stronger relationship with low UVB exposure in the first trimester, suggesting that early pregnancy may be the most vulnerable to the effects of insufficient UVB.
As a result of low levels of UVB radiation from sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is common over winter months in high latitude countries such as Scotland, with Scottish residents twice as likely to be vitamin D deficient than people living in other parts of the UK, the researchers said.Of the 422,512 schoolchildren included in the study, 79,616 (18.8 per cent) had a learning disability, 49,770 (23.1 per cent) boys and 29,846 (14.4 per cent) girls.
The percentage of children with learning disabilities varied by the month of conception, ranging from 16.5 per cent among children conceived in July, to 21.0 per cent among those conceived in February, March and April.
"Our study linked routinely collected health and education data with environmental data enabling us to study a very large number of children in a way that would not be possible using traditional methods," said Claire Hastie, who did the analysis The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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