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Endorphins Make Tanning Addictive

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the it's-not-easy-being-orange dept.

Medicine 51

Rambo Tribble writes: Research published in the journal Cell describes a mechanism whereby exposure to UV light leads to endorphin production in the skin. Additionally, they show that rodents exhibit the characteristics of addiction to those substances. This adds to earlier studies which demonstrated withdrawal-like symptoms in frequent tanners One of the researchers, Dr. David Fisher, commented, "It sounds like a cruel joke to be addicted the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the world,' The researchers conclusions are subject to some skepticism, however. Addiction researcher Dr. David Belin is quoted as opining, "... their study is going to be seminal even though their conclusions are not supported by their results." The BBC offers nicely rounded coverage, as well.

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51 comments

No worries (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288715)

Geeks can't get a tan from their mothers basement.

Re:No worries (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month ago | (#47288803)

Grow lights don't work?

Re:No worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288985)

Pretty sure tanning salon would be less expensive.

Re:No worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289331)

Your mother's basement sees plenty of sunlight.

Re:No worries (1)

CongoMongo (3708863) | about a month ago | (#47291879)

That's what windows are for. :)

I've seen it. (2)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a month ago | (#47288739)

I can certainly believe that tanning would be addictive. I know some people who just don't seem to be able to stay off the tanning beds. At age 30 they have the skin of 60-year-olds. (Although this is in Sweden, where you only get a couple of hours of natural sunlight per day in the winter, and lack-of-sun depression is probably more common than tanning addiction by orders of magnitude.)

In America, some men tan their penises. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288777)

The latest rage in some parts of America, mainly in California, has been for men to tan their penises, and only their penises. This is done to try to get them as dark as possible. Apparently it started when some white men heard that women (and some men) supposedly like so-called "big black cocks". In an attempt to darken their own penises, to try to make them more attractive and desirable, these men go to tanning salons and cover everything but their genitalia. Although they never truly blacken, they do end up much darker than they normally would be.

If you think I'm joking, I'm not. This is especially a big thing in and around San Francisco at the moment. Frankly, I don't think it makes much sense. The color of a man's penis in no way affects the length or girth of it. Tanning like that also may pose health risks that aren't well understood at this time, given that male genitalia often is not frequently tanned. It's not something I would engage in!

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288823)

California

, especially

San Francisco

has a lot of things that are the latest rage, which are in no way indicative of what's really going on in America!

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288965)

You sound jealous.

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (1)

mmell (832646) | about a month ago | (#47289073)

You sure that brown color is from tanning?

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289279)

You sure that brown color is from tanning?

San Francisco joke is offensive. Funny too, butt still ;)

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289083)

as dark as possible ... big black cocks ... San Francisco

Maybe that's just an excuse, perhaps the real reason is with darker penises upon withdrawal the owner does not readily takes notice so much of the faecal matter on it. Hey, everyone is squeamish about SOMETHING....

Re:In America, some men tan their penises. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289309)

but.. by the time your cock is clearly displayed in front of them its generally too late, when you walk in as not a black man and pickup a girl, they surely can't be expecting a big black cock..

"sorry i was expecting bigger and blacker i've changed my mind"

I've never been told that before

i hope they all get dick cancer for being such shallow douches

Re: In America, some men tan their penises. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289957)

Link?

Re:I've seen it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288969)

interesting. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Re:I've seen it. (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about a month ago | (#47290573)

Seen the same thing here in Canada, also the land of a few hours of sunlight in the winter. And yep, lack-of-sun depression is far more common here as well. Few years ago, they ramped up the "take D3 supplements" and the winter depression bit does seem to be dropping off slightly.

Re:I've seen it. (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | about a month ago | (#47292231)

Most of the Canadian population isn't that far north. Toronto for example is at 4342N, which is about the same as Florence, Italy (4347N), and southern France (Marseille, 4318N). Calgary is at 5103N, which is around London, England (5130N) and the middle of Germany (Dresden, 5102N). Stockholm is much farther north, at 5920N, similar to Whitehorse at 6043N. It's really interesting to compare the latitudes [wikipedia.org] between North America and Europe. Europe has great weather considering how far north it is.

So what say we kill all the endorphines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288751)

And that'll be the end of that! Get those runners of the sidewalks! Crazy people want knee replacement surgerIES.

I've gone tanning and yes it feels great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288759)

The rush from tanning is the same as a runner's high. In just a few minutes I feel the endorphin rush. Then for a couple days I feel the pain of a sunburn. Sometimes I put on sunscreen and still get a buzz. Proving it in mice seems like a waste of time. Next they can prove that mice injected with morphine like it.

Re:I've gone tanning and yes it feels great (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47288837)

Comparing it to runner`s high is what I was thinking too.

I think the criticism of the paper was a little off, or at minimal the person was creating an unnecessarily high bar. Not all addition is equal, not all withdraw symptoms are crippling, and "must be life destroying" only applies when you are talking DSM level addiction, not the physiological process.

Caffeine would be a good example of this. Physically addicting, has withdraw symptoms, but does not rise to the level of DSM addiction since people generally do not choose it over all other things. But it is still addictive.

Re:I've gone tanning and yes it feels great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288855)

I think the criticism of the paper was a little off, or at minimal the person was creating an unnecessarily high bar.

It's just another nonsensical psychology study with subjective criteria and a lack of rigor like you'd see in fields like physics. Ignore.

John Denver was right again (4, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a month ago | (#47288787)

First, Colorado legalizes weed, resulting in a Rocky Mountain high, and now we have evidence that sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

Re:John Denver was right again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288851)

Correct. I could submit an article about the stretching coefficient of your tight cinnamon ring as it engulfs my fully erect, throbbing member. However it would probably be rejected and not posted on the main page.

Re:John Denver was right again (1)

strikethree (811449) | about a month ago | (#47293269)

At first, I laughed and thought your post was funny, witty, and a good reference. On second reading, it was disturbingly insightful. Good catch.

News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288815)

Can someone submit any type of article on here now?

I've always just assumed only tech and "nerd" worthy news was allowed and anything else wouldn't get accepted here.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about a month ago | (#47288863)

Whenever someone questions whether an article is news for nerds, someone usually comes out and uses silly and trivial excuses to justify why the article is here.

Re:News For Nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288883)

This is Slashdot. The content is irrelevant anymore just as long as people can wag their dicks in each other's faces.

Listen to the children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288841)

Listen to the children, the stuff they draw has actually a meaning. They know sunlight makes addictive, this is the cause why they draw a smiley into the sun.

Beach Bunnies and Surfers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288843)

So, then Malibu etc were like the Lotus Caves out in the sun?

Explains a few things...

No (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a month ago | (#47288879)

Tanning addiction is right-up-there with sex & chocolate addiction.  And the BBC offers nicely warped Statist agitprop which is usually  pentagonal not rounded.

Can someone do Carmex next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47288933)

I swear I see people using lip balm in what seems to me an addictive fashion. There's that rumor that Carmex/Blistex/etc. have something like fiberglass in them to irritate the lips, thus requiring more of the stuff, but of course that's BS-- and yet, people seem to get some kind of perverse pleasure from smearing the stuff all over their faces. Maybe petroleum jelly or whatever it is is in itself doing damage to dry out the skin, which requires more of it, or something.

Researchers, can we have some specious research to determine if lip balm is addictive?

Get out from behind your computer. (1)

horm (2802801) | about a month ago | (#47288959)

So going outside and getting some sunshine makes you feel good. Who would have guessed?

"Nicely rounded coverage"... (1)

mmell (832646) | about a month ago | (#47289065)

Didn't have enough pictures. C'mon, we're nerds here - we only clicked on the link to see some "rounded coverage" (or rounded un-coverage).

Sunlight is addictive. So is food. So is water. So is oxygen. Do without any of these things for an extended period of time and you'll see what I mean.

Too much sunlight is bad. Too much food is bad. Too much water is bad. Too much oxygen is bad. Do your own experiments if you need to confirm these things - but don't complain to the rest of the world when you end up sunburnt, obese, suffering water intoxication or respiratory failure.

*Sheesh*

Re: "Nicely rounded coverage"... (1)

Trinn (523103) | about a month ago | (#47289127)

Actually a pure oxygen environment is survivable, it just tends to make normally innovuous materials quite explosive.

Re: "Nicely rounded coverage"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47290089)

Actually a pure oxygen environment is survivable, it just tends to make normally innovuous materials quite explosive.

Actually... pure oxygen is toxic even at standard pressure. At standard pressure (1 atmosphere) it takes several days for it to become apparent. People being treated with pure oxygen need periodic breaks of normal air to avoid the toxic effects.

At higher pressures (like when scuba diving), the exposure limits are much less. Usually the nitrogen limits are hit first, so you don't have to worry about it. However, if you are using enriched air or decompression, oxygen toxicity becomes the limiting factor.

Obvious (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month ago | (#47289177)

So being in the nice sunshine makes you feel good. Wow, all those PE coaches and Rec Center Activity directors were all right. Not to mention my mom who always kept telling to go play outside. Or was that play on the freeway? I can't remember.

Obvious (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a month ago | (#47289195)

Another thing that's obvious made to sound groundbreaking.

Dr. Fischer (2)

DaMattster (977781) | about a month ago | (#47289289)

Dr. David Fisher, commented, "It sounds like a cruel joke to be addicted the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the world.' This doesn't seem like a really intelligent thing to say. Smoking is probably just as addictive due to nicotine and clearly, it's a carcinogen as well. I guess that would be a cruel joke too?

Re:Dr. Fischer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47290297)

He's a skin cancer evangelist. Since he makes a career out of being a UV exposure alarmist to feed his addiction to grants and drag Harvard medicine down into the minor leagues, it pays to concoct snarky one-liners that will land his quotes in the news regardless of whether they're actually humorous and poignant.

Re:Dr. Fischer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47291719)

Are you saying that nicotine is more ubiquitous than sunlight? Try reading your own quote:
  "It sounds like a cruel joke to be addicted the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the world."

WTF is up with Cell these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47289297)

I've recently read several Cell articles where the "conclusions are not supported by their results" as Belin remarked. Either their peer reviewers are lazy and/or circle-jerking, or they are deliberately seeking hyped up research. It's going to back-fire when scientists no longer trust the results when reported in Cell ...

Nature is no different, it's a magazine. But Cell was supposed to have a reputation for scholarship.

Zonker Harris, we salute you (2)

jpellino (202698) | about a month ago | (#47289393)

... for kicking the habit so publicly.

anecdotal (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47289513)

I know a girl that tans so much she has to dye her brown hair black because it looks weird if her skins darker than her hair. But then her eyebrows didn't show up so she started dyeing those. But it was too hard to keep up with so she had them removed with a laser, and TATTOOED her eyebrows and eyeliner on black. Her friends jokingly call her an umpa lumpa to her face and she giggles and goes along with it. So yea, there's either something addictive about tanning or that chicks bat shit crazy.

Re:anecdotal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47290309)

Either way she's bat shit crazy...

Brought to you by the American Dairy Association (1)

zephvark (1812804) | about a month ago | (#47289757)

...who would like to remind you that sunshine will kill you, so be sure to get your vitamin D by drinking four to eight glasses of milk every day.

Re:Brought to you by the American Dairy Associatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47292111)

Actually, people who tan too much and want to stop should consider taking vitamin D.

Winter Blues (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a month ago | (#47290679)

When I've lived in northern climates, I've occasionally had a couple of tanning sessions to fight the winter blues. It works great.

addicted the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the wor (3, Insightful)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a month ago | (#47291069)

Summary says

It sounds like a cruel joke to be addicted the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the world

But UV exposure let the body produce vitamin D, which enables the immune system to fight cancer more efficiently, hence things are not that simple

In fact, avoiding UV probably means swapping skin cancers with other cancers. The nice point with skin cancers is that you have a chance to spot them early, so personally, I would choose UV exposure.

Vitamin D (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about a month ago | (#47299891)

The effectiveness of vitamin D as a cancer treatment is highly debatable [cancer.gov] , and anyone claiming otherwise (for or against) is mistaken or selling something. Not all UV radiation has the same effect on your skin. Tanning beds are tuned to make you tan; they are not particularly effective for vitamin D production. [skincancer.org]

You should avoid tanning. I am sure no one who has had skin cancer would recommend the experience. You're presenting a false dichotomy. Even if vitamin D were effective as a cancer remedy, it does not follow that tanning is a good way to get vitamin D. How much sun or dietary components you need to fulfill your body's needs for vitamin D is also difficult to estimate, and depend significantly on latitude, but there is little evidence to suggest that the amount of sun exposure required would produce or maintain changes of skin tone.

For what it's worth, I'm from Alaska and pretty used to taking vitamin D supplements throughout the winter. That and heavy drinking. I prefer living in the tropics and maintaining a natural tan. My mother was taken in by the vitamin D crowd when my father developed cancer, not to the point of rejecting traditional medicine, however. It is easy to find biased sources of information promoting many natural remedies; it is harder to find good studies. Like they say, "You know what they call alternative medicine that works? Medicine." If you're inclined to dispute any of the above please cite reputable studies. If, for any given remedy, one can't demonstrate a significant effect with a large group of people and a well-controlled study, it's a pretty useless remedy.

Example Vitamin D reduces cancer risk study: (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a month ago | (#47356495)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]
"This was a 4-y, population-based, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. The primary outcome was fracture incidence, and the principal secondary outcome was cancer incidence."

Eating a lots of vegetables and fruits and mushrooms can also reduce cancer risk (see Dr. Joel Fuhrman's summary works like "Eat To Live" with many references). I've found by eating more fruits and vegetables that my skin tone has changed from pale to having more color (even in winter). Adequate iodine can also help prevent cancer.

Reducing risk of incidence is not the same as cure though. Sorry to hear about you father getting cancer. Once you get cancer, everything is iffy, so cancer is best avoided preventatively. Fasting may also help in some cancer situations, and it also helps with chemotherapy by protecting cells from the toxic chemicals (since fasting seems to causes many normal cells to go into a safe survival mode but cancer cells generally do not). And eating better may hope prevent recurrence. In general, the human body is always developing cancerous cells, but generally they are dealt with by the immune system. So boosting the immune system could help with some cancers and there are many ways to do that -- but again, it is all iffy once cancer is established.

See also for other ideas:
http://science-beta.slashdot.o... [slashdot.org]

I agree supplements and natural sunlight are probably better choices than tanning beds --although there may still be unknowns about how the skin reacts to sun or tanning beds and produces many compounds vs. supplements. I also agree conventional tanning beds are not tuned to give lots of vitamin D.That is unfortunate, even if they produce some. See also about other tanning choices (and supplement suggestions):
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org... [vitamindcouncil.org]
"If you choose to use a tanning bed, the Vitamin D Council recommends using the same common sense you use in getting sunlight. This includes:
Getting half the amount of exposure that it takes for your skin to turn pink.
Using low-pressure beds that has good amount of UVB light, rather than high-intensity UVA light."

BTW, if you look into chemotherapy for cancer, for many cancers you'll find it is of questionable value relative to the costs both in money and suffering, where is on average may add at most a couple months of life on average if that. Chemotherapy can apparently even sometimes make cancer worse:
http://www.nydailynews.com/lif... [nydailynews.com]
"The scientists found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival."

It's hard to know who to trust regarding medical research results or interpretations:
http://www.pdfernhout.net/to-j... [pdfernhout.net]
"The problems I've discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (Marcia Angell)"

Good luck sorting it all out. I've suggested creating better tools for medical sensemaking, but still not time to work on them...

dumbasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47291935)

Opiate antagonists block natural endorphins resulting in withdrawal like symptoms.

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