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Can getting more sun help protect against dementia?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, and its cause is likely to be ‘multifactorial’ and even vary considerably between individuals. However, on thing that appears to be true is that a key driving process in the condition is inflammation (which, by the way, seems to be true for ‘chronic’ conditions). One potential anti-inflammatory agent […]

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Study shines light on the fact that sunscreens don’t appear to offer real protection against melanoma

It’s usually this time of year where we see a rash of stories in the press warning us of the dire perils of sunlight and the ‘essential’ nature of sunscreens in protection from it. This year was a bit different, though, in that I don’t think we’ve anything like the usual number of sun scare […]

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Can light in the bedroom at night drive weight gain?

I came across and interesting report today, published on the BBC website here. In essence, this study found that in a large group of women, the more light they tended to have in their bedrooms at night, the heavier they tended to be [1]. This is an ‘epidemiological’ evidence, and does not prove therefore that […]

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Light – a doubled-edged sword for sleep

There have been reports in the UK press this week of a report that informs us that we are sleeping quite a lot less than we did a few decades ago, and the problems that may befall us as a result. Here’s a typical story which appeared in the UK broadsheet The Daily Telegraph. Short […]

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How to improve sleep through seeking and avoiding light at the right times

I came across this report last week of a study into sleep-wake cycles. A group of adults were monitored in their normal environments (with electrical lighting, TV and electronic devices) and also had their levels of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin assessed [1]. It was discovered that in their normal environment, melatonin secretion was generally delayed […]

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How does sunlight cause melanomas on the soles of the feet?

This article in the Daily Mail caught my eye today. It concerns, as often seems to be the case at this time of year, the perils of sun exposure. It includes the comments of a consultant dermatologist who tells us that she wears factor 30 or higher sunscreen on her face throughout the year, “even […]

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Are kids really being reckless for seeking the sun and shunning sunscreen?

I spied this ‘editorial’ in the Daily Mail this week (we’ll come to why editorial is in quotes in a moment). It’s about a poll that shows, apparently, a significant number of young children are refusing to wear sunscreen. One in three, apparently, will seek to get out in the sun at every available opportunity. […]

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‘Sunlight’ found to lower blood pressure

There’s abundant evidence linking sunlight exposure with a reduced risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, several forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. If the sun is bright enough and high enough in the sky, sunlight can stimulate the product of vitamin D (actually, a hormone) in the skin. Higher levels of vitamin D […]

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Vitamin D improves energy production in muscles of vitamin D-deficient people

Vitamin D is perhaps best known for its role in bone formation, and vitamin D deficiency is an established cause of rickets (soft, deformed bones in children), as well as a potential underlying factor in osteoporosis. In recent years, the role of vitamin D in muscle function has come to the fore. Two potential features […]

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Vitamin D found to improve insulin functioning

In one of my blog posts last week I reported on a study which suggested that obesity is a potential cause of vitamin D deficiency, but that vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to have a big role in driving obesity. However, even if this conclusion is utterly correct, it does not mean that boosting vitamin […]

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