An interesting new scientific study is beaming around the Internets today. The story goes deeper than the premise, but I think it’s important, or at least relevant to me, to highlight it. Consider:
Redheads sunburn easily, putting them at high risk of skin cancer.
Really? No kidding.
Ok, so that was the setup so that I could write “from the land of milk and duh.” There’s actually an interesting scientific discovery here. Consider:
Duke chemistry professor John Simon analyzed how the pigments in naturally red and black hair 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.
Both kinds of light caused a reaction with the redheads’ pigment that creates molecules that damage DNA and cells in ways that can spur cancer.
In contrast, only UVB light caused that oxidative reaction with the pigment from black hair, called eumelanin, Simon reported.
Dr. Simon stated that this is only a theory, with more research necessary to determine if his findings are consistent with other researchers. That, of course, is how science works. Doctors knew that redheads have a higher risk of skin cancer, but no one knew why. Dr. Simon presents his hypothesis based on test observations and now other scientists work to disprove that theory. Sorta like evolution, one suspects.
This theory may not lead to the proverbial cure for cancer (literally in this case), but the advance of knowledge is important. I’m not even sure it adds much because it doesn’t change my relationship with the sun; I treat the sun as a stalker and avoid it as much as possible. (I’m practically a shut-in.) But, again, satisfying intellectual curiosity is useful in a developed society. And it allows me to write “from the land of milk and duh.”
Particularly annoying, though, is I now know that even when I’m walking around, my arch nemesis UVA is lurking. Bastards.
(Yes, I know I’m probably the only person who thinks that’s funny, but holy crap, am I laughing.)