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Too much sunscreen? Why avoiding the sun could damage your health | New Scientist
One idea for why, as daytime creatures on this sunny planet, we evolved this response to the sun is that it is a way to tolerate our own cells, rather than misidentifying them as “foreign” and destroying them. By getting sunlight, we boost that tolerance of self, which is essential for preventing autoimmune diseases, says Scott Byrne, an immunologist at the University of Sydney.

Protection factor
Byrne has been working with Prue Hart at the University of Western Australia to investigate whether UV light could help people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune condition that is more common at higher latitudes. Hart has shown that exposing mice to UV doses equivalent to a brief stint in the midday sun can prevent them from developing a form of MS. Now she and Byrne are looking into whether UV exposure from specialised lamps could slow, or even prevent, the development of MS in people.

However, sunlight’s effect on immune suppression also has a big downside: “Probably the reason why skin cancers grow is because the immune system is dampened and less efficient,” says Hart.

Even so, immune suppression can’t explain all the effects of sunlight on health that we have seen. Consider the perplexing finding that people with high sun exposures have higher life expectancies, on average, than sun avoiders – despite facing an increased risk of skin cancer.

That was the discovery of a large Swedish study into the risks associated with melanoma and breast cancer. In 1990, nearly 30,000 women were interviewed about their health and behaviour – including their sun habits. They were then interviewed again 20 years later. When Pelle Lindqvist at the Karolinska Institute and his colleagues crunched that data, they found that, on average, women who spent more time in the sun lived one to two years longer than sun avoiders, even after adjusting for factors such as disposable income, education level and exercise. That suggests it wasn’t simply about having a more healthy lifestyle overall. The researchers found this reduced life expectancy among sun avoiders was mostly due to a greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other non-cancer-related illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease or chronic lung disease. What could be going on?

Richard Weller at the University of Edinburgh, UK, thinks he has the answer. Like most dermatologists, Weller started his career believing that sunlight is terribly bad for you. He still wouldn’t dispute that it is a major risk factor for skin cancer. However, his discovery that we produce and stockpile vast quantities of nitric oxide – a potent dilator of blood vessels – in our skin, which can be activated by sunlight, made him think again.

He wondered if this UV-activated nitric oxide was why people’s blood pressure readings are lower in summer than in winter, and whether it may help to explain why cardiovascular disease is more prevalent at higher latitudes. If that were the case, it would also help to explain the puzzling results of the Swedish study. What he found pointed in that direction: his experiments showed that if you expose somebody to the equivalent of about 20 minutes of UK noontime summer sunlight, they experience a drop in blood pressure that continues even after they step indoors.

“People with high sun exposures have higher life expectancies, on average, than sun avoiders”
This sunlight-activated nitric oxide may have other functions as well. Separate studies have revealed that mice fed a high-fat diet that has been shown to promote weight gain and metabolic dysfunction can be protected against these effects through regular exposure to UV light, but not if nitric oxide production is blocked. Nitric oxide is implicated in wound healing, not to mention achieving and maintaining an erection. It also seems to be another substance to which regulatory immune cells respond.
Medicare  cancer  Science 
9 days ago by cnk
Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget breaks one of his biggest campaign promises to voters: that he would leave Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare untouched.

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.

Over the next 10 years, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal aims to spend $1.5 trillion less on Medicaid — instead allocating $1.2 trillion in a block-grant program to states — $25 billion less on Social Security, and $845 billion less on Medicare (some of that is reclassified to a different department). Their intentions are to cut benefits under Medicaid and Social Security. The impact on Medicare is more complicated, which I’ll get into a bit later.

Over time, the Trump administration tried to whittle down the president’s promise to just Social Security and Medicare. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Russ Vought said Monday, March 11, that Trump is “keeping his commitment to Americans by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.” But even that is not true.

Like “every other Republican,” Trump has repeatedly proposed and supported cutting these programs. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
republicans  DonaldTrump  socialsecurity  medicaid  medicare  usa  government  budget  from instapaper
11 days ago by jtyost2
Trump Proposes a Record $4.75 Trillion Budget
President Trump sent Congress on Monday a record $4.75 trillion budget request that proposes an increase in military spending and sharp cuts to domestic programs like education and environmental protection for the 2020 fiscal year.

Mr. Trump’s budget, the largest in federal history, includes a nearly 5 percent increase in military spending — which is more than the Pentagon had asked for — and an additional $8.6 billion for construction of a border wall with Mexico.

White House officials said the budget would include a total of $1.9 trillion in cuts to mandatory safety net programs, like Medicaid. It also proposes new work requirements for working-age adult recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance, federal housing support and Medicaid, a move the administration said would reduce spending on those programs by $327 billion.

The president is asking for a 5 percent cut in nondefense discretionary spending, compared to 2019 spending caps set by Congress. That would amount to $100 billion less than Congress actually spent on nondefense discretionary programs in 2019, when it busted those caps.
politics  government  budget  DonaldTrump  medicaid  medicare  military  usa 
12 days ago by jtyost2
Opinion | Luke O’Neil: $50 could have saved him, but his GoFundMe pitch didn’t get the clicks - The Boston Globe
"Since GoFundMe started in 2010, one-third of the roughly $5 billion in donations made through the popular fundraising site has been used to cover people’s medical bills and health care related expenses. "

"Britt was denied “due to needing more secure financial plan for immunosuppressive medication coverage,” they told her in a letter, saying they recommended a fundraising effort of at least $10,000.

Fortunately for Britt, the letter, which she posted to Facebook, wound its way through the whims of the viral-making apparatus to garner enough attention from outraged people that she’s now managed to crowdfund over $30,000. In other words she may be rich enough to bother trying to save now. But that’s only because of the outrage people felt at seeing a hospital say the quiet part out loud. "
medicine  healthcare  death  america  policy  medicare 
12 days ago by conner
Read 's recent article on what you need to know about Medicare before you turn 65 via
medicare  from twitter
23 days ago by boomerbenefits
Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’ - The New York Times
“We are trying to understand what will be coming at us,” Mr. Trautwein said. “Proposals on the left and the right, in Congress and on the campaign trail, could blow up the employer-based health care system that has worked pretty well for more than 60 years.”
Medicare  Obamacare  healthcare  health_insurance  PACs  corruption  Sanders  Bernie_Sanders  2019  TheNewYorkTimes 
28 days ago by Marcellus

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