KIDS who sleep with the light on could risk leukaemia, parents were
Scientists have found the body needs darkness to produce a chemical
that fights cancer.
Even switching the light on for the toilet, staying up late, travelling
across time zones, or the light from street lamps can stop enough
melatonin being made, they say.
The body needs the chemical to prevent damage to DNA and its absence
stops fatty acids reaching tumours and preventing them growing. Texas
University Prof Russell Reiter, who led the research, said: 'Once you
go to bed you should not even switch the light on for a minute.
'Your brain immediately recognises the light as day and melatonin
Rates of childhood leukaemia have doubled in the past 40 years.
About 500 youngsters under 15 are diagnosed with the disease each year and around 100 die. A conference on childhood leukaemia in London yesterday
heard that people were being subjected to more light at night than
This suppressed the production of melatonin which normally happens between 9pm and 8am.
Past research has shown those most affected, like shift workers, had
higher levels of breast cancer.
Blind people, who are not vulnerable to fluctuations of melatonin, have
lower rates of cancer, it was found.
Parents are advised to use dim red or yellow bulbs if their youngsters are scared of the dark.
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