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Suntan Roundup

April 13, 2007

What causes the sun-tanner’s high?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Is there a sun-tanner’s high? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[music]

HIRSHON:
"Good Day Sunshine" has never been considered one of the Beatles’ drug-related songs. But Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researcher David Fisher reports that the same process that leads to the release of melanin, the skin-darkening pigment, also releases opium-like compounds called beta-endorphins. He says that may explain addictive behaviors associated with sun-bathing and tanning salons.

In other tanning news, Ohio State researchers have found that a compound in brown seaweed may protect cells against skin cancer. Whether applied topically or ingested, the chemical reduced skin cancer substantially in laboratory mice.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.