SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – A team of dermatology researchers at Seoul National University have found that exposure to UV rays may have an adverse effect on the brain.
Through animal testing, the researchers discovered that UV rays can generate stress hormones in the skin, and that these hormones depress the generation of neuron fibers in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the section of our brain responsible for memory and cognitive functioning, and produces new neuron fibers constantly.
The procedure entailed exposing a mouse to UV rays six times in total over two weeks, measuring the growth of new neuron fibers in the hippocampus and observing for any changes in the synapses between neurons.
Compared to a group that was not exposed to UV rays, the mouse’s brain revealed a noticeably lower quantity of neuron fibers and appearances of receptor proteins (NMDAR2A, PSD-95) and the protein BDNF.
Considerably high levels of the chemical cortisol – a hormone triggered when feeling stress – were detected in the mouse’s blood. Generated from skin cells, the chemical is thought to have traveled through the bloodstream and to the brain, where it disrupted the hippocampus’s functioning capacity.
From the experiment, the researchers concluded that exposure to UV rays can damage memory and slow the brain.
The professor in charge of the experiment said that the data from the experiment is evidence of the importance of protecting oneself from excessive exposure to UV rays, and stressed the importance of sunscreen as a preventative measure.