BOB HIRSHON (host):
Looking at the bright side of sunshine. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays increases the risk of skin cancer, but University of Edinburgh dermatologist Richard Weller says it also lowers blood pressure, by inducing the skin to release nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels. That research was conducted a year ago. Now, in the journal Diabetes, he and his colleagues report that at least in mice, UV light has another benefit.
RICHARD WELLER (University of Edinburgh):
Shining UV at mice reduces their development of obesity if you overfeed them and diabetes.
He suspects nitric oxide may be responsible for the reduction in obesity and diabetes, too. More work remains to see if UV light has the same effect in humans. But the research already suggests that sunshine may have considerable benefits along with the risks. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.