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
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences