The news is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.
Depletion of the ozone layer over the past four decades has resulted in increased levels of UV light reaching the earth.
Meanwhile, worldwide research into the knock-on effects of over-exposure to UV light are well publicised – such as the Australian government’s ‘slip,slap,slop’ campaign to use sunscreen to protect from skin cancer.
But the positive effects of sunlight on the human body are less widely paraded.
Professor Mary Norval and a team from the University of Edinburgh Medical School have studied recent research into effects of the UV light on human health – and the positive and negative implications of ozone depletion.
Non-malignant skin cancers have been shown to be largely attributed to sun exposure, as have the malignant variety though these are also affected by genetic factors.
Eye damage can also occur in two main ways – formation of cataracts, and growths called pterygiums.
Prof Norval said: “Large increases in the occurrences of these two eye conditions are predicted in the future.”
While the research supports various government campaigns to get citizens to protect themselves from the sun, scientists are finding more beneficial effects of UV light on humans.
It is well documented that sunlight is needed for the skin to synthesise vitamin D – 90 per cent of the body’s supply of this vitamin.
Prof Norval said: “The link between rickets and lack of light has been known for almost a hundred years.
“But vitamin D is now implicated in the prevention of an increasing number of non-skeletal disorders. These include internal cancers, such as colon, breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, and autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and insulin-dependent diabetes.
“Sunscreens shield the body from the type of UV light needed to make vitamin D, so covering any exposed skin with sunscreen at all times is not advisable.”
She added: “Despite the distinct possibility that the ozone layer will repair itself in the coming decades, the take home message from the research so far is that we should strike a balance between the positive effects of vitamin D formation and the serious negative effects of too much sun exposure.”
Tony Kirby | alfa
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta
Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences