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New findings on ambient UVB radiation, vitamin D, and protection against severe COVID-19 -- ScienceDaily

Researchers found that ambient UVB radiation at an individual's place of residence preceding COVID-19 infection was strongly and inversely associated with hospitalisation and death. This suggests that vitamin D may protect against severe COVID-19 disease and death.

Inactivation of Influenza Virus by Solar Radiation - ProQuest

Among the environmental factors that affect survival of influenza virus, our calculation of virus inactivation by solar UV radiation appeared to produce an effect stronger than expected. The potential solar UV inactivation ranges from near negligible to 9 log^sub 10^ or more per day, depending on location and season (Tables 1 and 2). Therefore, it appears that the germicidal impact of solar UV radiation may be several orders of magnitude more relevant to environmental virus inactivation that the other primary physical factors (temperature and relative humidity). However, other factors may be also involved in virus persistence as influenza epidemics still occur in the tropics (3) in spite of the strong virucidal effect produced there by solar UV radiation. Person-to-person transmission, aerosolization and environmental contamination are likely affected by seasonal human behavior. For example, people in the developed countries located in the temperate zone spend their work time indoors, minimizing exposure to outdoor environmental sources of influenza, while maximizing direct indoor person-to-person transmission. Thus, although our calculations suggest that solar UV radiation might have a significant role in influenza outbreaks, it is apparent that influenza epidemics will ultimately be understood only after considering the interactions among a number of variables. The inactivation rates in the tables indicate that influenza virions should remain infectious after winter release from the host for several days in many higher latitude cities, with continued risk for reaerosolization and human infection. These findings are supported by increased mortality during winter months recorded between 1959 and 1999 when influenza was identified as the primary determinant of excess winter mortality (15). By spring equinox, solar inactivation improves in parallel with a general decrease in flu cases. Also paralleling the sharp seasonal differences in radiation at higher latitude, influenza epidemics have a marked seasonal occurrence in the northern and southern temperate zones (latitudes 30-70°), while the occurrence at lower latitudes is spread more evenly over the year (7).

Fountain Portal

The bones of those who fell on either side in this battle lay scattered separately. The bones of the Persians lay in one part of the field and the bones of the Egyptians in another, as the two armies had separately stood. The skulls of the Persians were so fragile that a mere pebble thrown at them would penetrate them. But those of the Egyptians were so strong that you could hardly break them with a stone. The cause of this, so the people said, and I readily agreed, is that from childhood the Egyptians shave their heads, and the bone is thickened by exposure to the sun. For the same reason they do not become bald. Of all races of men bald heads are rarest among the Egyptians. Such then is the reason for their strong skulls. And the reason why the Persians have weak skulls is that they cover their heads all their lives with felt hoods, called tiaras by the Persians.

Light therapy could replace opioids as main treatment for cancer treatment side effect -- ScienceDaily

Light therapies have existed for decades, but improvements in the technology have made the treatment more affordable for wider use. At a high power, light, often in the form of a laser, is used in medicine to cut or destroy tissue. But at a low power, it has the ability to relieve pain or inflammation and promote healing. The treatment is rising in use across Europe, Brazil, India, Canada and several other nations. The findings provide an upgrade to previous guidelines published in 2013, which noted the effectiveness of light therapy and recommended, based on relatively limited evidence at that time, the intervention as an optional therapy in specific cancer patient populations and settings.

Study links fluorescent lighting to inflammation and immune response - Neuroscience News

“In this report, we show genome-wide changes of gene expression patterns in skin, brain and liver for two commonly utilized fish experimental models (zebrafish and Japanese rice fish, also known as medaka), and a mammalian (mice), following exposure to 4,100 K ‘cool-white’ fluorescent light,” Walter said. “In spite of the extreme divergence of these animals (i.e., estimated divergence of mice and fish about 450 million years), and drastically different lifestyles (i.e., diurnal fish and nocturnal mice), the same highly conserved primary genetic response that involves activation of inflammation and immune pathways as part of an overall acute phase response was observed in the skin, brain and liver of all three animals. Follow-up studies to further define this response in mice are underway.”

Octopuses can ‘see’ with their skin | Science News

So far, though, there’s no evidence in squids and cuttlefishes that light striking skin is enough to make chromatophores blush. Cronin isn’t completely ruling out the idea yet and speculates about more subtle roles. “Maybe they don’t respond directly, but they may alter a signal sent from the central nervous system,” he says. Research on light detection beyond eyes and brains “has been neglected for some time,” says developmental biologist Florian Raible of the University of Vienna. Yet non-eye light sensing structures or compounds show up in the tube feet of sea urchins and the body walls of fruit fly larvae. And in Raible’s lab, a polychaete worm flees light — even after beheading.

Melanoma death rates are rising in men but static or falling in women -- ScienceDaily

In all countries, the rates were higher in men than in women. Overall, the highest three-year average death rates for 2013 to 2015 were found in Australia (5.72 per 100,000 men and 2.53 per 100,000 in women) and Slovenia (3.86 in men and 2.58 in women), with the lowest in Japan (0.24 in men and 0.18 in women). The Czech Republic was the only country where the researchers found a decrease in men's melanoma death rate, where there was as estimated annual percentage decrease of 0.7% between 1985 and 2015. Israel and the Czech Republic experienced the largest decreases in mortality rates in women, 23.4% and 15.5% respectively.

Mouse and human skin cells produce melanin on a 48-hour cycle -- ScienceDaily

. They observed that a 48-hour cycle of exposure resulted in the darkest coloration of the cells while minimizing the effects of stress, even when they controlled for total dosage of exposure. "The results were so surprising," says Levy. "We expected daily synchronization of the cell's protective cycles." Levy and her colleagues, including co-senior author and systems biologist Shai Shen-Orr and his PhD student Avelet Alpert of the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology, observed that MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor) seemed to play a role in synchronizing the protective cycles. MITF was previously shown to control production of melanin and its spread to surrounding skin cells. They found that upon one ultraviolet exposure, MITF expression fluctuates every 48 hours. Another exposure 24 hours later seemed to disrupt this expression pattern.

Safe' UV light may prevent infections in catheters, cardiac drivelines -- ScienceDaily

A specific wavelength of ultraviolet light, now delivered through light-diffusing optical fibers, is highly effective at killing drug-resistant bacteria in cell cultures, according to a new study led by David J. Brenner, PhD, a professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The technology is designed to prevent infections around skin-penetrating medical devices, such as catheters or mechanical heart pump drivelines.

Sunlight May Be the Next Beet Juice | Outside Online

The study involved shining two different doses of ultraviolet light (specifically UVA light—wavelengths between 315 and 400 nanometers) on ten volunteers, then measuring its effects on a range of outcomes like blood pressure, resting metabolism, and nitrite and nitrate levels. It’s this last bit that caught my attention, because the rise of beet juice as an endurance-boosting supplement is due to its high levels of nitrate. The body converts that nitrate to nitrite and then to nitric oxide, which seems to make your muscles work more efficiently during endurance exercise. These studies have also found that boosting levels of nitric oxide has other health benefits, like acutely lowering blood pressure and regulating blood sugar. (In fact, one recent study found that using mouthwash twice a day or more, which wipes out the oral bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite, was associated with a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes.)