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Health Watch: January 21st

A look at the stories affecting your health.
Increasing intake of vitamin D could benefit people in the early stages of multiple sclerosis. Scientists at Harvard School of Public Health found that MS patients with adequate levels of vitamin D had lower rates of new brain lesions and relapse than those with lower levels of the vitamin. MS is a central nervous system disease that impacts muscle control, strength, vision and balance. The study suggests that vitamin D helps protect the body from damage caused by the disease. 

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered a new way cocaine alters the brain's reward circuits, causing addiction. The drug increases levels of an enzyme that affects a key reward center in the human brain. The study suggests blocking this enzyme may provide a new way to curb cocaine's addictive power with the aid of new drug therapies. 

Some extra fun in the sun could help cut your risk of heart attack and stroke. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that sunlight alters levels of nitric oxide in the skin and blood, helping reduce blood pressure. While it is still important to protect your skin from too much sun exposure, moderate levels of ultraviolet light help dilate blood vessels, reducing cardiovascular disease. 
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