August 29, 2011

Tanning Addiction

Tanning is a daily or weekly ritual for many people.  It can be of course beautiful but very dangerous for the skin.  Today melanoma is the most lethal form of cancer.  And even with knowing that people are tanning more than ever before.

Melanoma Statistics

  • According to the Skin Cancer Foundation about 120,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
  • People under 30 who use the tanning bed 10 times a year have eight times the risk of developing malignant melanoma.

UT Southwestern scientists are involved in a study have said that brain activity is similar to that seen in people with addictions to drugs and alcohol. In the study participants used tanning beds in two sessions.  They were exposed to UV radiation at one session and the other time with a special filter to block the UV radiation.  Participants did not know which was used when.  They were asked how they felt before and after how much they felt like tanning.  Scientists also measured brain blood flow where they were tanning.

“Using tanning beds has rewarding effects in the brain so people may feel compelled to persist in the behavior even though it’s bad for them,” said Dr. Bryon Adinoff, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study available online and in a future print edition of Addiction Biology. “The implication is, ‘If it’s rewarding, then could it also be addictive?’ It’s an important question in the field.”

Hopefully with more studies like this and education we can start lowering the risk of this type of cancer.


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