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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Here’s something unexpected: Sunbathers live longer

In April, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, attended a meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists. In an exclusive interview with MedPage Today, he shared his mounting concerns about two matters: the impact of burnout on physicians and our society’s current opioid crisis. Dr. Murthy stated that he views physicians as being an essential part of the solution to the epidemic of drug overdoses, which have exceeded motor vehicle accidents as one of the leading causes of death.

Dr. Murthy correctly linked the well-being of health professionals with that of the general public, stating, “As I think about the emotional well-being for our country, I am particularly interested in how to cultivate emotional well-being for healthcare providers. If healthcare providers aren’t well, it’s hard for them to heal the people for whom they are caring.”

As the director of Physician Health Services (PHS), an independent non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting the health and well-being of some 45,000 physicians and medical students in Massachusetts, I have witnessed first-hand how stress and burnout among practicing physicians may play a role in the opioid epidemic.

In the past, physician health programs across the country focused on assisting doctors with drinking problems, drug addiction, and mental illness. Although these conditions continue to challenge a subset of practicing physicians, the rising tide in the physician health world is occupational stress, burnout, and an overall failure to thrive, which may be both personal and professional. Indeed, a recent study on physician burnout published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings demonstrated that more than half of all physicians are experiencing professional burnout. As burnout increases, satisfaction with work-life balance drops. The data indicate that internists and family medicine physicians, those who prescribe the lion’s share of opioids, are particularly beleaguered — and this conforms to my own experience assisting distressed physicians who are failing to thrive.

Many physicians in busy primary care practices feel like they are playing a never-ending game of “Whack-a-Mole.” They answer to a growing cadre of masters: faceless managed-care bureaucrats; managers; IT consultants; quality measurement gurus; and…patients. As time grows scarcer and the rewards leaner, being an excellent physician while managing one’s life outside of the office has become increasingly challenging. Given these pressures and demands coming from so many quarters, some adult primary care physicians may not possess enough time or the requisite emotional fortitude to fully explore non-opioid alternatives when, for example, a patient with chronic lower back pain reports that 80 mg of oxycodone (Oxycontin) per day has allowed him to continue working and providing for his family. Scenarios like this raise the possibility that physician burnout may be playing a role in the opioid epidemic.

Solving the burnout crisis of adult primary care physicians is beyond the scope of this blog post. But until our society and the medical profession begin to address this crisis in a vigorous and meaningful way, our quest to put an end to the opioid epidemic remains daunting. There is a puzzling and worrisome new phenomenon that I am seeing as a pediatrician: parents who are putting their children on gluten-free diets.

It’s puzzling because in the vast majority of cases it isn’t necessary — and it’s worrisome because, although parents are doing it because they think it’s healthy, a gluten-free diet can be very unhealthy for children.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains. It’s in bread and other baked goods, cereals, pastas — and in many other foods in small amounts. For people with celiac disease, even those small amounts can make them sick. People with allergies to wheat can’t eat it either. But the number of people with celiac disease or wheat allergy is actually pretty small. For both of these conditions, there are tests that can be done to make the diagnosis (which are best done when the person has been eating gluten, not when they’ve been gluten-free).

Some people “feel better” on a gluten-free diet, even though their medical tests are normal. However, this is unclear and controversial. Lots of us would feel better if our diet suddenly had more fruits and vegetables and less cake, cookies, and other carbohydrates. Also, a gluten-free diet may have less of certain sugars that are hard for some people to digest; it may be those sugars that are the culprit, not the gluten. Some studies suggest that there can be a strong placebo effect, too. The mind-body connection is very strong, and sometimes just believing something will help makes it help. And while some people without celiac disease or wheat allergy may indeed react to gluten in a way that isn’t healthy, those people are relatively few.

Yet “gluten-free” is all over products in the grocery store — as if gluten were evil. But gluten isn’t evil at all. Here are three ways that a gluten-free diet can be unhealthy for children:

    It can be missing important nutrients. Whole grains that contain gluten have lots of crucial nutrients — including B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, selenium, and magnesium. They have fiber, too, which is important for good digestion. While it’s possible to get these nutrients and fiber without eating gluten, it takes some work.
    It can be too low in calories for growing children. Kids need healthy calories to grow, and when you cut out foods made with wheat or that otherwise contain gluten, it can be harder to get those calories.
    It can be high in arsenic. A staple of a gluten-free diet is rice — and many rice products are high in arsenic. The rice plant is particularly good at pulling arsenic out of the soil, and there is a fair amount of it left from prior pesticide use. Arsenic in large amounts can be lethal, but even smaller amounts can lead over time to not only cancer and other health problems, but to learning problems when infants and children are exposed. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration have been cautioning parents about limiting rice and rice products in their children’s diet.

Because gluten is in so many foods, being on a gluten-free diet can also make school lunches, play dates, and other aspects of a child’s daily life significantly more complicated — and it can be more expensive, too.

So before you cut gluten out of your child’s diet, talk to your doctor. Talk together about why you want to do it; find out if there are any tests that should be done, or if there are other ways to achieve what you are hoping to achieve by cutting out gluten. A child’s diet can have a big effect on not only her current health, but her future health; be sure you are making the very best choices.
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Comments
14
Topics
Children's Health | Healthy Eating | Parenting
Comments:

    Posted July 29th, 2016 at 12:27 am
    Dr.D.M.Mahesh

    Thanks @drClaire for this article. There is a new sort of WAR between the Rice & Wheat group. The rice with its ability to blend to anything makes it the most attractive food , and with wheat that come up as the prefered food for people with diabetes has made rice look bad. Hence the rice group has started this Gluten myth and making people fearful of wheat, which though partially true is far from reality. The mantra of health has to be WHOLE grains [ whole wheat and unpolished rice ] and not refined grains whether wheat or rice. Finally, both are essential, but need to be consumed in the appropriate quantities. The current plate method of healthy eating gives clear restriction of WHOLE cereals to 1/4th of 9 inch plate.
    Hope people chose the middle path and not extremes to make healthy food choices
    Posted June 20th, 2016 at 11:41 am
    www.kelambubandung.com

    My children eat anything that exists, whether it is good for children’s health
    Posted June 19th, 2016 at 5:11 am
    Mel

    The only issue with relying on tests to determine weather on not something is healthy or unhealthy or your body is that all too often tests can miss, or not go into a underlying condition thoroughly enough. A test may tell me that I have no intolerance to gluten, but i after eating it I get a hashimoto thyroid attack (gluten is a big issue with suffers) then I am always going to listen to my body before the doctors.
    Posted June 17th, 2016 at 10:14 am
    Kevin

    I agree that it can be somewhat unhealthy for children. But what about if the child has a sensitivity like I do. I am gluten sensitive as an adult and only recently found out. Reading online and finding posts like this are what has helped me get through it mostly. I find that I cannot eat the same stuff I use to like and rely more on finding gluten free recipes. If it wasn’t for simple stuff like this, then I would not even feel human. I wish I could have some bread. Gluten free bread just isn’t the same.
    Posted June 11th, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    Denise Miller

    This article is ridiculous! The focus must be on Gluten Syndrome….the huge umbrella of over 300 health issues with one spoke being Celiac Disease. Please research the work of brilliant and progressive Dr. Rodney Ford, a pediatric gastroenterologist. Proactive prevention is the key to optimal health, safety and well being!
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 8:25 pm
    anonymous

    I agree with one thing at least in this article and it is that a child or anyone for that matter shouldn’t assume that they should just go on a gluten-free diet without taking the proper tests to find out the cause of their symptoms. The difference between a diagnosed Celiac and a person that doesn’t know for sure is that if you have Celiac disease and don’t know it then you’re just relying on your symptoms and diagnosing yourself which can be in the future more harmful to you than you think. Celiac disease can be a very complex disease to diagnose. Ultimately, if you get bad symptoms after eating you should see a GI doctor that will run the proper tests to find out what the root of the problem might be. Blood tests are not always good way to test for Celiac. Endoscopy and genetic testing along with blood work under the care of a GI doctor is by far the best way to go. If you just live your life without knowing for sure then you can risk far more health problems in the future. Celiacs have to be on a strict gluten-free diet. In order for your GI tests to be accurate, you’d have to continue ingesting gluten.
    just f.y.i.: my blood work came back fine(it showed no signs of celiac) but I carry the genetic marker for celiac and my endoscopy confirmed that I have Celiac disease.
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 2:55 pm
    Court

    Articles like this make me laugh so hard. I think they are totally paid off or have a concrete opinion why they’re willing to hold on to their “grain”. The wheat today is not the wheat is was back then. It is biologically and genetically different than old world wheat. I am diagnosed as gluten intolerant, it was the cause of my eczema, migraines and digestion issues. When I gave it up about 4 years ago my health improved drastically. However when I visited Paris, I did an experiment. I tested to see if I was able to eat their bread! France is apart of the list that banned GMO’s. And guess what I dined there with NO PROBLEMS! I ate bread with every meal. Then I back to the States and ate a burger and I was so sick and had bad rashes. It’s the quality of food here which is subpar. So before you come to a conclusion on why kids “should not do a gluten free diet” make sure you also mention that there are other ways to get your nutrients instead of depending on “Frankenwheat”. I wish my parents allowed me to be gluten free. Do your own research people, find out what works for you!
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 8:17 am
    Melinda Arcara (aka Gluten-Free Bebe)

    Is the author of this article being paid by the wheat farmer lobby groups? Name one child that is eating a diet that contains whole grain wheat? Most people are eating processed wheat/glulten containing products that contain high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, coloring and flavorings. My son had a motor tick and his doctor wanted me to see a neurologist to have him diagnosed with tourettes. Although he tested negative for Celiac (his father and uncle both have it), without the support of his doctor, I removed gluten and his tick has stopped. His diet contains other whole grains like quinoa and buckwheat and he eats minimal amounts of rice. He eats tons of fruits and vegetables and some processed foods and is thriving better than most gluten-full children we know. People who eat gluten-free as a medical necessity aren’t stupid, they do it to get and stay healthy. So please change your article to read, “ANY diet (gluten-free or not) made up of all processed foods is not healthy for anyone!”
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 5:29 am
    Michelle

    Gluten containing foods don’t contain nutrients they are fortified with them (they are added in!) as apart from carbohydrate gluten containing foods such as bread and pasta don’t contain much of anything healthy food is simply food and cutting gluten out is not dangerous for your diet or child
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 1:46 am
    Heather Twist

    My kids went gluten-free at home 18 years ago, because *I* have celiac and didn’t want the risk of contamination. My 5-yr old daughter’s comment, a couple of months in, was “Mom, I’m so glad we went gwooten free!”. “Why?” I asked, wondering if she even knew what she was talking about. “Because our food is SO MUCH BETTER NOW!”.
    And yes, it was! Because we couldn’t just live off packaged junk like we used to, and I had to actually learn to cook. No more pop-tarts for breakfast, sadly.
    I suspect some organization is giving out pre-written news articles about why “gluten free” is bad. I can think of lots of reasons people might not want to bother … actually cooking is a lot of work, and our diets in America are mainly based on wheat. But to say gluten-free is *dangerous* … that is just silly. Try looking at the health of cultures that eat lots of wheat, and those that don’t … the non-wheat-eaters tend to be the healthier ones, not vice-versa.
    If you want to feed your kids a really healthy diet, concentrate on good fruits and vegies, nuts and tubers, good eggs, and seafood (all that nice DHA for growing brains!). You’ll save lots of money, not buying prepared foods. And you’ll be teaching them good habits for the rest of their lives.
        Posted June 8th, 2016 at 8:32 am
        Melinda Arcara aka Gluten-Free Bebe

        I agree with you Heather! Well said! My husband is Celiac and I’m gluten-intolerant. Every meal in our house is well thought out and we spend a huge amount of money buying quality foods (local, season and organic). We eat at home more often, bring our own food and buy more fresh food than many other families that aren’t gluten-free. It infuriates me that there are so many articles being written about how “unhealthy” this way of eating is for kids. Doctors aren’t GOD’s, they get an average of 23.9 hours of nutrition training. That doesn’t make them experts.
        Posted June 8th, 2016 at 8:33 am
        Gluten-Free Bebe

        I agree with you Heather! Well said! My husband is Celiac and I’m gluten-intolerant. Every meal in our house is well thought out and we spend a huge amount of money buying quality foods (local, season and organic). We eat at home more often, bring our own food and buy more fresh food than many other families that aren’t gluten-free. It infuriates me that there are so many articles being written about how “unhealthy” this way of eating is for kids. Doctors aren’t GOD’s, they get an average of 23.9 hours of nutrition training. That doesn’t make them experts.
        Posted June 9th, 2016 at 8:41 am
        Christina M.

        You mention something this article does as well…

        …that you and your family ate pop tarts for breakfast before going gluten free. To quote the article:

        “Some people ‘feel better’ on a gluten-free diet, even though their medical tests are normal. However, this is unclear and controversial. Lots of us would feel better if our diet suddenly had more fruits and vegetables and less cake, cookies, and other carbohydrates. Also, a gluten-free diet may have less of certain sugars that are hard for some people to digest; it may be those sugars that are the culprit, not the gluten. ”

        I am not gluten free, and I fully admit I love to bake, but I also eat a diet of high quality grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc. As I shifted more towards eating these things I naturally felt better. It’s not because I stopped eating gluten (because I didn’t), it’s because I just started eating better. For most people the answer is not going to be to not eat gluten – it is going to be to eat better food. Surprising, right? But that’s the conclusion of a new study that compared the life spans of many people with varying amounts of sun exposure. They found that among nearly 30,000 women in Sweden, who were each monitored for about 20 years, those who spent more time in the sun actually lived longer and had less heart disease and fewer non-cancer deaths than those who reported less sun exposure.
Can the sun extend your life?

With summer just around the corner, this news is timely — and a great excuse to get out of the house or office and soak up some sun. But there are some important caveats about this research:

    Deaths due to cancer were more common among those who spent more time in the sun (The authors suggest that the higher probability of being diagnosed with cancer among the sun worshippers was because they were surviving longer and not dying as often of other causes)
    The impact of sun exposure on longevity was relatively small. Even those with the greatest sun exposure only benefited from an extra 7 months to 2 years of life.
    This study detected an association between sun exposure and a lower frequency of certain causes of death; however, that’s not the same as proving that sun exposure was the cause of longer life. It could turn out that there is another explanation for these results that has little to do with sun exposure itself. For example, perhaps people with more sun exposure tend to be more active, smoke less, and have healthier diets. The researchers tried to account for other factors such as these in their analysis, but it’s always possible that something important was overlooked.
    The reason why more sun exposure might prolong life or prevent heart disease deaths could not be determined by this study. Because the sun’s UV light triggers chemical reactions in the skin that lead to the production of vitamin D, it’s possible that vitamin D is responsible for the health benefits of sun exposure described in this study. And that could mean vitamin D supplements would promote longer life free of heart disease, even without sun exposure. However, that’s only speculation and prior studies have not been able to prove this.
    The study did not include men. The impact of sun exposure could be quite different among men.

Before you ditch the sunscreen and head for the beach…

While there is some uncertainty about the overall importance of this study, one thing is for sure: when it comes to the impact of sun exposure on health and disease, the findings of this new report won’t be the last word. There are competing risks linked to sun exposure: skin cancer and other skin damage are clearly a risk; but there may be health benefits as well (as suggested by this study). Since this type of study cannot determine the exact reason that those with more sun exposure lived longer, we’ll need more research to sort out just how much sun exposure is best.

The authors of this study speculate that recommendations to limit sun exposure might actually do more harm than good; in fact, they suggest that avoiding the sun could have a negative health impact similar in magnitude to smoking. That’s quite a statement!

In my opinion, that kind of declaration is premature and overstates what we can conclude from this type of research. After all, there are plenty of examples in which retrospective studies like this one (that is, those that ask people to think back and self-report their experiences with an exposure or treatment) turned out to be completely wrong. Routine hormone replacement therapy for perimenopausal women is one of the most dramatic and recent examples. Let’s not make sun exposure the next one.
Related Information: A Plan for Successful Aging
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Comments
45
Topics
Behavioral Health | Healthy Aging
Comments:

    Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 1:02 am
    Bruce Tizes, MD, Medical Editor, http://www.medicalcitizen.com

    My guess is that use of UVA and UVB blockers, motivated largely by a desire to decrease skin cancer risk, traded relatively easily curable skin cancers for incurable and/or more advanced bowel, breast, thyroid and other tumors… an unexpected and unhappy consequence.
    Posted June 17th, 2016 at 9:10 am
    Zoey141

    Insightful write up… But then, I have my doubt about sun bathing being beneficial for all. I’ve been battling psoriasis for over a decade now, and exposing my skin to sunlight has always proved to be a bad idea. I do take risk sometimes, but it hasn’t really paid off. Although researchers are all for sun bathing, I personally think people with psoriasis should avoid it. Better be safe than sorry, right>?
    Posted June 15th, 2016 at 9:40 pm
    Sara Keylor

    If you spend alot of time outside, you most likely are working, farming, fishing,and other noble activities…therefore better health. There are way too many variables that make this study literally Swiss Cheese!
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 5:17 am
    Maria Jasmine Freeman

    Sunlight exposure decreases depression incidence, and depression is a risk factor for unhealthy living, thus higher death risk. More, as mentioned, vutaminD resulting from sunexposure, has multiple benefits. Additionally, to start with, those who spent more time in the sun could have commenced with better life circumstances, less stress, healthier environment and food, and more supportive family life, etc…
    It has to be kept in mind though, that with a hole in the ozone gap-albeit recently ameliorated, sun exposure nowadays is more risky as to skin cancer-and more, than many years ago, so a sun -exposure strategy has to be adopted with caution, especially in the greater-risk group!
    Dr Hana Fayyad
    Posted June 8th, 2016 at 4:48 am
    Joan Ravenna

    consider this: sunbathing is a ritual. a relaxation and often social activity or athletic activity.
    All those factors are life enriching, possibly prolonging and hopefully enjoyable.
    What makes life better may be what makes it longer.
    There are studies about saunas lengthening life for heart patients. Just the opposite of conventional advice. Question the conventional advice!
    Joan Ravenna
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 6:31 pm
    Manny

    Good article but take the time to read the whole journal study done in Sweden using about 29,000 participants.
    My advice after working on this issue with the FDA for 22 years and attending the National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention meeting for 5 years is to use a contingency approach depending on your skin type. The lighter your skin color the more precautions that you need to take from getting sun burned and other skin cancer risks..
    However other studies have show also that folks with with non melanoma skin cancer actually live longer than most people.. For me sunlight helps with my psoriasis. I also use Talconex for it and use a tanning bed in the winter months when my psoriasis is really a problem. Everything in moderation and follow your doctors advice…
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 2:40 pm
    gretta gribble

    heavier people are more likely to have risks for earlier death and are also less likely to go out in scanty swimwear. was weight – waist circumference, bmi, etc – considered?
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 11:05 am
    Melissa Kazantzis

    Hi editor

    In the sentence ” Since this type of study cannot determine the exact reason that sun avoiders lived longer, we’ll need more research to sort out just how much sun exposure is best.”

    I believe the word avoiders was intended to mean “bathers” ?

    Thanks for this great publication!
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 7:11 am
    Renee3

    Everything in moderation. Of course if you bake and burn in the sun, that wouldn’t be wise, but completely avoiding the sun can’t be good for your health either. There are many benefits to getting some sun. I live in NY and it is difficult to keep my vitamin D level up. Many doctors think supplementing doesn’t offer the same benefits.
        Posted June 7th, 2016 at 7:54 am
        R. Terrance W

        Drink water
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 1:03 am
    steve

    I would expect those more in the sun would drink more alcohol. The author seems to be bent on taking away the benefits of sun exposure and attributing its health benefits to other things.
        Posted June 7th, 2016 at 6:35 pm
        Manny

        Good point. Alcohol is another confounder. Since it is carcinogenic I believe it affects other organs than the liver
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 12:03 am
    Carol Glasscock

    Ridiculous and dangerous column! Let’s just ask my husband, who has had repeated serious skin cancer surgery from sun exposure as a teenager. It has almost killed him twice. And the radiation from skin cancer treatment has damaged his heart. He is currently very ill with heart failure.
    It makes me sick that someone would twist and skew unreliable results to come to a wrong conclusion. Thanks to this column, many people who live here in Pensacola, Florida will head to the beach thinking “Whew! So glad that danger is over.”
    Shame on you!
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 9:45 pm
    Dr. K S Parthasarathy

    This “study” has red flags at many points. It will be interesting to speculate a mechanism for the apparent longevity of sunbathers.
    The juicy title “Sunbathers live longer” became more realistic as the text advanced.
    The usual caveat “Comments on this blog do not represent the views of our editors or Harvard University, and have not been checked for accuracy.” may save the reputation of Harvard University.

    In spite of ther caveat , Harvard University wants ” All comments submitted to this site become the non-exclusive property of Harvard University.”
        Posted June 7th, 2016 at 7:09 pm
        Manny

        Hello
        was part of FDA effort to review the Swedish Study in 1992 indicating that sunbed usage increase risk of CMM. The correlation was only suggestive.. Both Dr Cyr and Dr Beer felt that it was the early sun burns that contributed to CMM. Spent five years representing FDA at National council of Skin Cancer Prevention meeting.. There has been some peer reviewed research that show that folks with NMSC actually live longer..The benefits and risks associated with uv light exposure needs further study . There are so many confounding factors.. The lighter skinned folks are at higher risk for sun burn but benefit from shorter exposures from a UVB vitamin D 3 perspective. All a skin type 2 needs is about 100 JM2 of UVB to get their dose of vitamin D 3 and they get a minimal Erythemal does at about 156 JM2…
        Biotin line each person skin type is different and the lighter the skin the more burn or cancer risk and more vitamin d3 benefit. The opposite is true for Afro Americans less cancer risk and less benefit from vitamin d 3. A hormone that is very important to human health.. Could this be a contributing factor to increased cancer rates in the Afro American community.. ???
        of vit
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 7:41 pm
    Mike Lipsky

    Sun tanning is a natural and intended process of the body with beautiful benefits When practicing moderation. The correct spirit of some care should be educating people to minimize the risk of overexposure, or sunburn, while still allowing them to enjoy a regular exposure to the sun.
        Posted June 7th, 2016 at 7:15 pm
        Manny Karos Allied Quality Services LLC

        Good point Mike
        I enjoy reading your colums in IST.
        I hope the Brits don’t break away..

        Met a bunch of them on a cruise out Venice last month..
        A lot of them on the pool deck:)
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 7:36 pm
    gretta gribble

    no comment on the role of weight, waist circumference, etc. heavier people have more health risks, but are less likely to go out in bathing suits. (some do, of course.)
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 6:08 pm
    Vince

    You know the evidence that sun avoidance and sun screen prolongs life is far less convincing than the study above. Yet that lack of evidence has not stopped M.Ds from encouraging sun avoidance and sunscreens even as this study suggest it shortens you life. Sun screens have never been shown to prevent melanoma to my knowledge yet that is the belief system. The bias is clearly shown by the statement that up to a 2 year longer life span is ‘small ‘ somehow I think that if a really toxic Chemo loaded with side effects extended life in some it would be considered “HUGE’ be .Belief is not evidence. I few of the less than proven statements in this thread. Melanoma is usually caused by sun exposure. all quotes from “And the link between melanoma and sun exposure is not straightforward. Dr. Marianne Berwick, an epidemiologist at the University of New Mexico who studies skin cancer, led a study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005 finding that people who had a lot of sun exposure up to the time they got a diagnosis of melanoma actually had better survival rates than those who had little sun exposure. ……” Sunscreens save lives ‘….”“It’s just not that simple,” said Dr. Barry Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health.
    Continue reading the main story

    “We do have some pretty good evidence that sunscreen will reduce your risk of the less lethal forms of skin cancer,” Dr. Kramer added. “There’s very little evidence that sunscreens protect you against melanoma, yet you often hear that as the dominant message.” The times piece is a good read
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 5:02 pm
    Alaa abdelmoniem mohamed

    I believe, exposure to the sun rays would be limited on the periods that not effected the skin. Is that correct?
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 3:56 pm
    Con Tan

    of the uv rays, only uv B is effective in promoting vitamin D synthesis on skin. The amount of uv B is governed by the azimuth of the sun. In New Zealand, between end of March and early September, UV B B is hardly present in the sun. Even for those months when UV B is present, the effective durations could be half an hour or less around noon.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 3:52 pm
    karen mundy

    Another theory on sun exposure and longevity. Sweden is an affluent country, with very few low level jobs.

    Perhaps the sun devotees were high SES (socio-economic status), having the leisure time to be in the sun. So the real independent variable would be SES, a marker for well-being in a variety of areas.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:51 pm
    1Ronald

    Unexpected? We’ve known this for years. My lifeguard died last year at age 95. In the sun, by the ocean, all day every day. Now, the people wanting to sell you that cancer causing sunscreen don’t want you to know this.
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 3:20 pm
        Ridley

        Cancer CAUSING sunscreen?
            Posted June 6th, 2016 at 4:50 pm
            jk

            Yes cancer causing sunscreen. Back in the early days of chemical laced body care products, the hair and body care products industry along with the chemical companies noticed the correlation between the use of their products and the rise in cancer rates. So what they did was conspire to blame the skin cancer on the sun. Remember PABA and sunscreen? The spike was covered up and the incidence of skin cancers has continued to rise.

            As the rates of skin cancer increased, it became news. And the makers of tanning lotions saw an opportunity. They repositioned their products as “sunscreen.” After that, the sales of sunscreen continued to climb… along with the rates of melanoma.1 In fact, the per capita melanoma rate has increased 1,800 percent since the first commercial sunscreens were introduced.
            Posted June 6th, 2016 at 11:28 pm
            Henry

            Come on – “cancer-causing” was surely what he meant.
            Posted June 7th, 2016 at 10:31 am
            JY

            Many chemicals used in sunscreen increase ROS. The experts tell us that the sun causes ROS, and this is why we need protection from sunscreen. Therefore many chemicals used in sunscreen may actually exacerbate the problems associated with sun exposure, especially if not enough sunscreen is used or not reapplied frequently enough. If you are interested in this subject, read up on the need for Toxic Substance Control reform.
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 3:42 pm
        kingdomarc

        i guess still people dont get it. vegetables, algae, etc spend all day in the sun and dont burn, instead they get these protective compounds that when we eat these foods we can get to protect ourselves from the sun. it is because we are so unhealthy that we get photo damage, not because the sun is bad. it doesnt mean we have to spend hours in the sun and toast, common sense is key. something else that will protect you from the sun is good fats, but they have demonized those too. Again we are so sick our bodies cant handle anything because we have been brainwashed that good is bad and bad is good.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:49 pm
    Rich

    Association versus correlation is one of the most fundamental of research principles. There are over 5 million skin cancers diagnosed each year. Melanoma accounts for over 75,000 cases of new skin cancer. Each year. Melanoma is deadly if not treated early, and it is usually caused by sun exposure. Who reviews these articles before you send them out? Could you not take a break from selling publications for a tiny moment to put the caveat more upfront?
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 5:35 pm
        Joe Ciccone

        and how many people die from this ?
        The sale and use of sunscreens seems to rise along with the increased incidences of skin cancer.
        The are certainly other factors besides the sun, causing these increases.
            Posted June 7th, 2016 at 8:21 am
            lola joaquin

            That’s because some sunscreens contain carcinogenic ingredients!
            Check you sunscreen against the list tested and published by EWG (Environmental Working Group)
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:44 pm
    Robert Diffin MD

    Personally, I found your comment wanting that the “sun advantage” is relatively small (7-24 months) as more valid when speaking of a 3, 9. or 15 year old. It is more important to a 40 or 50 year old.
    Secondly, you had a prime opportunity to educate your audience as to the “ideal” time of the day and time of exposure if a person desires to gain the benefit of the sun, and minimize potential harm.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:31 pm
    Josephine

    What to believe: a) sun is bad for you skin=you can develop skin cancer (melanomas etc) .
    And now: sunbath is good, extends your life.
    ??????????
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:05 pm
    Patricia Hickerson

    Humans lived outside for most of the day until recently. As I understand it, the form of vitamin D formed from exposure to sunlight is a hormone. Hormones interact with other hormones and our biorhythms. Most of my ancestors were in northern Europe. I live near 38 degrees north in the U.S. If I’m in the sun midday, I sunburn in 5 minutes. Still, I try to get some sun exposure every day. It always makes me feel better and sleep better.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:55 pm
    Taleena

    I too feel this was an “Enquirer” type headline. Harvard should be ashamed of themselves for using such a misleading headline in what should be a medical article.
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 5:38 pm
        Joe Ciccone

        Harvard is just selling information that if you search you might find without spending $20 bucks…..
        their not going to print this comment…..that’s become the American way…
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:33 pm
    Sami Sozuer

    Sweden is way up north! On a yearly basis, it gets much less sunlight
    than more southern parts of the world such as the US. Considering that we evolved from ancestors from Africa, it may just be that people
    in Sweden normally get much less than “normal” sun exposure. But
    as for me who lives around 40th latitude, I believe I get more sun exposure than the person with the highest sun exposure in the study.

    What about conducting a similar study in southern Italy? That could shed some light on the apparent paradox we face.
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:58 pm
        Noah Freedman

        Excellent point. Dr. Bruce Hollis has a lot of data on how, even at latitude 40 degrees , it is hard to make any vitamin D from sunlight at all between the months of November and March, and then it is only possible between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm standard time. Though, since I am sitting up here at 6600 ft above sea-level, whether a thinner atmosphere has greater risk of UV exposure as others have told me.
            Posted June 6th, 2016 at 5:53 pm
            sami sozuer

            UV exposure certainly increases with altitude. I once climbed a 3500m mountain and I got serious sunburn in spite of the sunscreen I was wearing.

            WHO’s webpage says UV exposure increases by 10-12 % with every 1000m increase in altitude. So compared to sea level your UV exposure would be 20-25 % higher at 6600ft.
        Posted June 6th, 2016 at 2:00 pm
        Noah Freedman

        Excellent point. Dr. Bruce Hollis has a lot of data on how, even at latitude 40 degrees , it is hard to make any vitamin D from sunlight at all between the months of November and March, and then it is only possible to make vitamin D between March and November between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm standard time. Though, since I am sitting up here at 6600 ft above sea-level, I wonder whether a thinner atmosphere has greater risk of UV exposure, as others have told me.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:29 pm
    Gerald Dassler

    The E mailed intro to this Blog was VERY misleading.

    I would expect a scientific approach from Harvard Medical – not what felt to me like a National Enquirer lead in.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:27 pm
    Nancy Doherty

    The study was in Sweden, a very northern country with long, dark winters. Just how much sun exposure were the women getting, especially compared to women at lower latitudes?
        Posted June 7th, 2016 at 6:43 pm
        Manny

        The swedes flock to the Med every year.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:10 pm
    deforddennis

    Perhaps the reason is that people who spend more time outside are more social.
    Posted June 6th, 2016 at 1:08 pm
    Rita Brock

    I suggest it might be because sun exposure aids in more restorative, deeper, and longer sleep. Sleep deprivation is tied to all kinds of ill health susceptibilities like type 2 diabetes, loss of memory, risk of heart disease, and impaired immune functions. Our diurnal clocks fail to reset for good sleep if our retinas are not exposed to an hour of sunlight midday, every day. I’ve found all day exposure assures a good night’s sleep, even when crossing multiple time zones with no jet lag if I am outdoors all day for a couple of days.

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