Sunbed addiction similar to alcohol and drug dependency
It has been discovered that using sunbeds is just as addictive as drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
Researchers have found the ultraviolet light in sunbeds activates the reward switches in the brain and encourage people to seek a year-round tan.
They believe this explains why people ignore health warnings about skin cancer and premature ageing and continue to use sunbeds.
As a result the researchers have said similar to drug and alcohol addictions, some people might need medical help to stop.
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Dr. Bryon Adinoff, one of the researchers, said: “What this shows is that the brain is in fact responding to UV light and it responds in areas that are associated with reward.”
“These are areas that are activated when someone is administered a drug or a high-value food like sugar.”
The use of sunbeds and tanning salons has become incredibly popular in recent years.
Almost 30 million Americans use sunbeds every year and in the UK incidences of skin cancer have increased four-fold in the last 40 years.
“People are dying from this so it's a major public health problem,” Adinoff said.
“By clarifying the reasons (for addiction), we can start to look at whether medication for addiction could be useful for tanning.”
The findings will appear in the coming edition of the journal ‘Addiction Biology.’
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”