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UV nail lamps pose no skin cancer threat

UV lamps used at nail salons do not appear to significantly increase the risk of developing a type of skin cancer called keratinocyte carcinoma, researchers say.

In a new study, researchers assessed the risk of keratinocyte carcinoma associated with the use of three UV nail lamp models.

The lamps were considered to be representative of standard UV nail lamps, said researchers Alina Markova and Martin Weinstock, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, R.I.

Assuming 10 minutes of use per UV nail lamp session - a common length of time of use - the researchers calculated that it would take 250 years of weekly UV nail sessions to equal the risk of exposure associated with one course of narrowband UVB treatments for certain kinds of skin conditions.

Based on this finding, the researchers concluded that UV nail lamps do not play a substantial role in the risk of developing keratinocyte carcinoma.

Why flu virus infects mostly in winter

Scientists have discovered a possible reason why the flu virus is seasonal and tends to infect people mostly in the winter.

They found that the virus survived best at low humidity, such as those found indoors in the winter, and at extremely high humidity.

Linsey Marr, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her colleagues, Wan Yang, of Blacksburg, Va., one of her doctoral students, and Elankumaran Subbiah, a virologist in the biomedical sciences and pathobiology department of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, measured the influenza A virus survival rate at various levels of humidity.

Their study presents for the first time the relationship between the influenza A virus viability in human mucus and humidity over a large range of relative humidities, from 17 percent to 100 percent.

They found the viability of the flu A virus was highest when the relative humidity was either close to 100 percent or below 50 percent. The results in human mucus may help explain influenza’s seasonality in different regions.

Humidity affects the composition of the fluid, namely the concentrations of salts and proteins in respiratory droplets, and this affects the survival rates of the flu virus.

“We added flu viruses to droplets of simulated respiratory fluid and to actual human mucus and then measured what fraction survived after exposure to low, medium, and high relative humidities,” said Marr.

Sleep apnea may cause more brain damage in women

Women suffering from sleep apnea have a higher risk of brain damage than men with the disorder, according to a new study.

For this study, the researchers looked at patients who were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

They compared the nerve fibers in these patients' brains -- known as white matter -- to fibers of individuals without sleep problems and focused on unearthing the difference in brain damage between men and women with sleep apnea.

"While there are a great many brain studies done on sleep apnea and the impact on one's health, they have typically focused on men or combined groups of men and women, but we know that obstructive sleep apnea affects women very differently than men," said chief investigator Paul Macey, assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing.

"This study revealed that, in fact, women are more affected by sleep apnea than are men and that women with obstructive sleep apnea have more severe brain damage than men suffering from a similar condition."

In particular, the study found that women were impacted in the cingulum bundle and the anterior cingulate cortex, areas in the front of the brain involved in decision-making and mood regulation. The women with sleep apnea also showed higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms, the researchers said.

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