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Study: UV Exposure Releases Endorphins, Addictive Behavior in Mice

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 02:08:24 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While sunlight can elicit some feel-good vibes, exposure to UV light may be addictive, a new study says.

Researchers from Harvard University found that UV light releases endorphins that act similarly to heroin and morphine in mice.

Scientists exposed the shaved animals to radiation equivalent to 30 minutes of midday Florida sun exposure, five days per week for six weeks. One week of the procedure resulted in increased endorphin levels in the animals' blood.

After the six weeks, researchers gave the mice naloxone, a drug blocking receptors and triggering withdrawal.

They found that the animals had similar symptoms to those coming off heroin: teeth chattering, tremors, shaking, and diarrhea.

Though the results apply only to rodents, researchers say the findings may serve as an explanation to the rise in skin cancer incidence in humans.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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