UVR Exposure From Tanning Beds Ups Cerebral Blood Flow

Frequent exposure to UV radiation may reward central nervous system, encourage over tanning

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during use of a tanning bed increases regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the dorsal striatum, anterior insula, and medial orbitofrontal cortex, according to a study published online April 11 in Addiction Biology.

Cynthia R. Harrington, M.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues evaluated the effects of a commercially available tanning bed upon rCBF, a measure of brain activity, using single-photon emission computed tomography. A total of seven frequent salon bed tanners underwent two sessions under a UVA/UVB tanning light: one with UVR and one with filtered UVR (sham UVR). Subjects were blinded to the study order and the session order was randomized.

The investigators found that subjects had a relative increase in rCBF of the dorsal striatum, anterior insula, and medial orbitofrontal cortex, during the UVR session as compared to the sham UVR session. A decrease in the subjective desire to tan accompanied these changes.

"These findings reveal that UVR exposure via a commercially available tanning bed, relative to sham UVR, increases mesostriatal activity in frequent tanners," the authors write. "These findings strongly suggest that frequent tanning may involve CNS reward and/or reinforcement over and above the oft-stated goal of 'getting tan'".

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