From: Jerry Cuttler [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday August 22, 2004 8:05 PM
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Sunlight and skin cancer - another myth?
----- Original Message -----
From: Patricia Lewis
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 12:01 PM
Subject: FYI - ANOTHER DISSIDENT DERMATOLOGIST
EXCERPTS - Another case of dermatologist for the Sun:
(I'll forward entire newsletter to anyone interested - or visit the Moss Reports website)
Newsletter #146 08/22/04
THE MOSS REPORTS
It is remarkable how easily and how often the medical profession - a profession which prides itself above all else on being firmly grounded in science - falls back on blunt dogma when its official positions are challenged.
The current debate over the advisability of exposing one's skin to sunlight is a case in point.
While the dermatology profession as a whole has cleaved to a rigidly anti-sunlight position, issuing dire warnings about the cancer risks of sunlight exposure and encouraging everyone to don sunscreens before going outdoors, a small but growing number of scientists and dissident dermatologists are beginning to challenge that position. The dermatology profession has reacted with anger to those who have dared to raise doubts about the advisability of avoiding sunlight.
ANOTHER DISSIDENT DERMATOLOGIST
A. Bernard Ackerman, MD, is an exceptionally distinguished dermatologist and one of the world's foremost authorities on the subject of skin cancer. In 1999, after a long career in academic medicine, he founded and became director of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York.
Largely because of his leadership and high standards, Dr. Ackerman's institution quickly became the world's largest training center in the field of dermatopathology. (Dermatopathology is the study of the disease processes that affect the skin. It involves detailed knowledge of the microscopic anatomy of the skin's structure in health and disease.) Dr. Ackerman and his six associates examine more than 100,000 skin specimens and do more than 4,000 consultations per year. Dr. Ackerman has published 625 research papers and his list of honors and awards includes this year's Master Award, given to one person a year by the American Academy of Dermatology.
What makes this accomplished scientist particularly interesting is not just his distinguished career in academic medicine but the fact that he challenges some of the dermatology profession's most cherished dogmas.
According to an article in the New York Times (July 20, 2004), at age 67, Dr. Ackerman "continues to teach and write, and also to ask for data and question his field's conventional wisdom."
"The field is just replete with nonsense," he told the Times. For instance:
--Dr. Ackerman does not believe that the link between melanoma and sun exposure (a central dogma of dermatology) has been proven. He himself is deeply tanned and unafraid to expose his body to the sun.
Sunburn not only cause of skin cancer in redheads
AP, August 29, 2005
Redheads sunburn easily, but that may not be the only reason they are at high risk of skin cancer. New research suggests the pigment that colours their skin may set them up for cancer-spurring sun damage even if they do not burn.
More than one million Americans develop skin cancer each year. Among those most at risk are people with light skin, hair and eyes, a combination frequent in redheads. Scientists long have wondered if something else plays a role in redheads' high risk. One theory focuses on melanin, the skin pigment that darkens with sun exposure to provide either a tan or freckles. People with red hair have a chemically different type of melanin than people with dark hair.
Duke University researchers yesterday reported the first direct evidence that those melanin differences indeed may be a culprit. It turns out that redheads' melanin is more vulnerable to a type of DNA-damaging stress from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Scientists analyzed how the pigments reacted as they absorbed either ultraviolet B rays associated with sunburn, or ultraviolet A rays, which can penetrate and damage skin even without a burn.
UVA and UVB light caused a photochemical reaction with the redheads' pigment, called pheomelanin. The reaction creates oxidative stress, where oxygen molecules called free radicals are formed that damage DNA and cells that, over time, can accumulate to spur cancer.
In contrast, only UVB light caused that oxidative reaction with the pigment from black hair, called eumelanin.