'Lights Out' May Help Fight Cancer

HAIFA, Israel, April 13 (UPI) — Lamplight burning all night may affect cell division and increase the risk of cancer, Israeli and British researchers warn.

Study leaders Dr. Rachel Ben-Shlomo of the University of Haifa in Israel and Charalambos Kyriacou of the University of Leicester in England said just one “pulse” of artificial light during night hours was enough to disrupt the body’s circadian “clock” and affect how the body’s cells divided.

“Damage to cell division is characteristic of cancer, and is therefore important to understand the causes of this damage,” Ben-Shlomo said in a statement.

Ben-Shlomo, Kyriacou and colleagues exposed laboratory mice to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. During the dark hours, one group of mice was exposed to artificial light for one hour.

The mice studies, published in the journal Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics, link exposure to the un-natural light to changes in the biological clocks of the cells — which affected genes that control how cells form cancer as well as how cells fight against cancer.

“What is certain is that the natural division is affected,” Ben-Shlomo said.

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