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Medical Roundup

July 22, 2011

New research lends clues to why a bad sunburn hurts so much.



What puts the burn in sunburn? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Ultraviolet light from the sun can lead to sunburn in which the slightest touch feels like a hot flame. Researchers at Kings College London report in the journal Science Translational Medicine that they’ve found a compound in the skin responsible for the pain. It’s called CXCL5, and the researchers hope the finding will lead to more than just sunburn treatments. The same compound could be involved in pain from other inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.

In other news, scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they’ve found a connection between salt craving and drug addiction. Both desires use the same circuit in the brain’s hypothalamus. Understanding it could lead to new treatments to curb cravings for unhealthy foods and narcotics. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.