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This article linked below gives me a new nudge to go to sleep when the sun goes down and get up when the sun comes up. It's only natural. For lighting at night, I like to use candles, which are not bright enough to interfere with melatonin production. And I have to keep reminding myself to turn off the blasted computer screen when the sun goes down.

Mercola points out (in link) that cancer incidence is directly related to longitude...folks near the equator don't get much cancer. He believes this is due to vitamin D levels. He discourages sunblock usage because many of the sunblocks available are toxic. Here's his take: http://v.mercola.com/blogs/public_blog/How-to-Reduce-Your-Risk-of-Cancer-By-50--8790.aspx

And here's a post about electric lighting and the relationship to cancer:
Electric Light may pose Cancer Risk
http://www.myhealthinsight.com/2007/03/12/Electric-Light-may-pose-Cancer-Risk.html

Posted on Mar 12 2007 12:31 AM by Jones T. Miller

Light at night might be a cancer risk could electric light pose a cancer threat? It might seem like the wildest of paranoid beliefs, but a growing number of scientists suspect it might be true.

The reason: Turning on the lights after dark may affect a small number of "clock genes" that play a major role in controlling how cells live, die and function, these researchers suggest. Specifically, the experts say, there is evidence that night lighting can help cause cancer by interfering with the molecular mechanisms that control cell death and multiplication. A number of these researchers are in London this week for a five-day meeting where they are considering the evidence for a link between lighting at night and an increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia.

The meeting, which concludes Friday, is sponsored by Children With Leukaemia, Great Britain's leading charity devoted to conquest of the disease. There has been a steady increase in childhood leukemia rates in Britain and Europe, according to a report delivered at the meeting by Michael P. Coleman and Anjal Shah, epidemiologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In the United States, a study by epidemiologists at the University of Minnesota found a similar increase of about 1 percent every two years between 1973 and 1998 -- but only for childhood leukemia.

The incidence of adult leukemia declined during those years. And leukemia may not be the only cancer affected by artificial lighting at night, said Richard G. Stevens, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center, who has been studying the role of clock gene malfunction in breast cancer. The results of his research are only preliminary, he noted, because the field is so young. "The clock gene revolution is new," Stevens said. "They were only identified about five years ago. There are eight or nine of them in mammals, and they control a lot of other genes." Some of those genes control apoptosis, the process by which the body destroys abnormal cells, among other functions. Other genes control cell division. Malfunctions of those genes can lead to cancer, as cells no longer pay attention to signals telling them not to divide or abnormal cells fail to commit suicide, Stevens said.

A possible link between electric light and cancer could be the hormone melatonin, which protects genetic material from mutation, according to Russell Reiter, professor of cellular and structural biology at the University of Texas. Night light suppresses the body's production of melatonin and thus can increase the risk of cancer-related mutations, he told the London meeting. Scott Davis chairman of the department of epidemiology at the University of Washington, said that while the link between light at night and cancer "may seem like a stretch on the surface, there is an underlying biological basis for it." Davis, like Stevens, has been studying how night lighting affects the production of female hormones, which, in turn, can affect the risk of breast cancer. "We have found a relationship between light at night and night-shift work to breast cancer risk," Davis said. "The studies indicate that night work disrupts the activity of melatonin, which leads to excessive production of hormones in women." If the link between night light and cancer is eventually proved to be true, Stevens said, it's hard to say what could be done about it. "So far, no therapeutic agent has been developed for it," he said.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
xplorher
Mar. 29th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
this just in...
*NEWSFLASH*

(fill in the blank) causes cancer!!!

personally i get more concerned with carcinogens in the air from burning wax of candles in small spaces w/out ventilation..but..whatevs..

(fill in the blank) causes cancer!!!

back to the subject of moderation...
liveonearth
Mar. 29th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
cynic
Be that way. Just go ahead.
Me, I'm going outside to get some sun.
xplorher
Mar. 30th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
realist
ahhhh! SUN causes cancer too!! :-)
ok ok ok...enough sarcasm..(i'm such a pain in the arse sometimes)
my point is..awareness is good..but if we spend our healthy lives worrying (-worrying causes cancer-!) about everything that causes cancer...by the time we may or may not end up with cancer we might think "hmmm, wish I'd just simply enjoyed livin'! cuz now I'm dealin' with dyin'!" hehe
watch out for reactionary life changers..
cuz that closely resembles a pin ball. and who wants to be a pinball?
read by electric light or candle light at night...if that pleases you..and have sweet dreams when the lights go out. whatever makes you happy!
love ya! love ya lots!
liveonearth
Mar. 30th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
Re: realist
I love you too, darlin'. I just get sick of people's shallow sarcasm with regard to questions of health, esp cancer. I'm going into healthcare and I CARE!!! Modern research is giving us MORE data that support the idea that moderation is best...moderate suntan, moderate diet, etc. And I like to post about it, for my own future reference.
neptunia67
Mar. 29th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting idea, but doesn't seem very practical. You're talking about getting upwards of 16 hours of sleep each night during the winter months?

One of the suggestions in my psychology text is that artificial lighting causes people to undersleep. This I can swallow and agree with - it makes so much sense that people's health can be affected by the amount of sleep they get.

What will you do about sunblock? I've swapped over to using a moisturizer and face makeup that provide SPF 15 without harmful chemicals. I'm not going to expose my face to direct sunlight. Titanium dioxide is probably the best higher-SPF sunblock to use, but clothes are the best. I watched my grandfather die of melanoma and won't risk that for myself.

Everything causes cancer. I guess we just have to decide which kinds we are willing to risk getting.
liveonearth
Mar. 29th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
I think you know by now that I am not an extremist, that I adopt an idea in moderation and tend toward it as a rule...and that I do not intend to completely eschew electric lighting..... paint me as an idiot if you want but I am not.

Undersleeping is of course bad for you and related to that is the underproduction of melatonin which happens when you live under electric lights and don't get enough sleep. If you read the article you may find something interesting in there but it appears you did not.

For sunblock I use a big hat and a long sleeved shirt which I put on when the sun is high and dangerous, and take off when it the sun is low. I put block on high exposure areas (tip of nose, back of hands, etc) to avoid sunburn, but minimize the use and wash it off asap. Works for me.

Some things cause more cancer than others. Melanoma is not caused by getting a tan, but rather by getting burned, in combination with nutritional imbalances that cause our bodies not to repair the damage done by the UV radiation. You could die of melanoma BECAUSE of sunscreen, so toxic are some of them.... believing that something is helping doesn't make it true.

I am sick of hearing "everything causes cancer". It was cute 10 years ago. If you aren't interested, skip the entry.
neptunia67
Mar. 29th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
It appears that I offended you. I didn't mean to - and I didn't intend to "paint you as an idiot". Give me a break.

I was simply trying to tell you what I use for sunscreen that I believe is safe to use, through research that I have done in my quest to find safer alternatives.

And geez - the other commenter gets a "nah-nah-nah" and I get a "fuck off". Thanks a lot.
liveonearth
Mar. 30th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
I meant the same message for both of you, because I got the same flak. I wished I could reply to both with one message, but you had more to say so I responded to more. And I was offended, your tone gets me sometimes. I'm sorry that I offended you in return. Perhaps I should wait longer before I write. Regardless, we each get each other's point, and I don't think either one of us meant to hurt the other. So I'm going to refrain from sarcasm. Can you forgive me?
neptunia67
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Yes,and thank you. One of the bad things about this online communication is lack of tone of voice. I am sure the conversation would have gone differently for both of us if we had been face to face.
liveonearth
Mar. 30th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is the downside of quickie email communications----I have watched marriages nearly fail over misunderstandings via email.....so I try to be careful but still sometimes piss people off....
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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