A large-scale study from King's College London explores the link between genetics and sun-seeking behaviors.
- There are a number of physical and mental health benefits to sun exposure, such as boosted vitamin D and serotonin levels and stronger bones.
- Addictions are multi-step conditions that, by definition, require exposure to the addictive agent and have also been proven to have a genetic factor. Countless people are exposed to addictive things, but not all become addicted. This is because of the genetic component of addiction.
- This large-scale study explores the link between sun-seeking behaviors and the genetic markers for addiction.
The benefits of sunlight<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQyMjI1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzk0NDUxNH0.lbYbZidJkNXPUcWM6m8cucuzAFOANkqPaIVfJdqkJ4Q/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="d5fcd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f44fcc9a31393c8102803eb50d01a19a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman sitting on dock in the sunlight" />
The mental and physical health benefits of sunlight have been heavily researched.
Credit: eldar nurkovic on Shutterstock<p>The benefits of sunlight have been widely discussed for many years. In fact, there are a number of physical and mental health benefits to sun exposure.</p><p><strong>Sunshine (and the lack of) impacts your hormone levels. </strong></p><p>Sunlight (and alternatively, the lack of sunlight) triggers the release of certain hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase serotonin, which is associated with boosting your mood and helping you feel calm and focused. </p><p>Alternatively, dark lighting triggers melatonin, a hormone that is helpful in allowing you to rest and fall asleep. Without enough sunlight, your serotonin levels can dip - and low serotonin levels have been associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder).</p><p><strong>Sunlight can build strong bones. </strong></p><p>Exposure to the ultraviolet-B radiation in the sun's rays can interact with your skin, causing it to create vitamin D. <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to NHS</a>, vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities or bone pain. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2008 study</a> has shown that even 30 minutes in sunlight (while wearing a bathing suit) can boost vitamin D levels. </p><p><strong>Can sunlight actually prevent cancer? </strong></p><p>Although heavy exposure to sunlight has been proven to contribute to certain skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight has actually been shown to have preventative benefits.</p><p><a href="https://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/3/5/1548.full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a 2008 study</a> from the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, those who live in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to have some specific cancers (including but not limited to colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer) than those who live in areas with increased daylight hours.</p><p><strong>Additionally, sunlight has been shown to help people with skin conditions such as psoriasis. </strong></p><p><a href="http://www.who.int/uv/faq/uvhealtfac/en/index1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to the World Health Organization</a>, sun exposure may also be able to help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and acne. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#benefits" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Some research</a> has also indicated the sun benefits people who struggle with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, and inflammatory bowel disease. </p>
Can you be addicted to the sun?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQyMjI1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NjI2NzMwOX0.rB2IFcqqFIwqCn1TF-Upv9_O3KlmI_H4MtYx6L7bTqI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=31%2C0%2C32%2C0&height=700" id="eb0cc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="384e08fdcd535ed2b792eef419af9e2c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="hands holding up the sun" />
The large-scale study examines the link between addiction and sunlight, with some surprising results...
Credit: KieferPix on Shutterstock<p>Addictions are multi-step conditions that, by definition, require exposure to the addictive agent. Due to the increase of serotonin (a chemical in the human body <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/serotonin" target="_blank">that has been proven</a> to help reduce depression, regulate anxiety, and maintain bone health), it's natural that being exposed to prolonged periods of sunlight could become somewhat addictive to the human body and mind. We crave things that make us feel good, and sometimes those cravings become something we depend on. This is the very nature of addiction.</p><p>Countless people are exposed to addictive things (substances, medications, and yes, even the sun), but not all become addicted. This is because of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506170/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">genetic component of addiction</a>. </p><p>A large-scale study from King's College in London examines more than 260,000 people to better understand how sun-seeking behavior in humans can be linked to genes involving addiction, behavior traits, and brain function. </p><p><strong>The study included two phases:</strong></p><p>Phase one suggested genetics play a role in sun-seeking behaviors and phase 2 helped pinpoint what those genetic markers are.</p><p>Phase 1: The researchers studied the detailed health information of 2,500 twins, including their sun-seeking behavior and their genetics. Identical twins in a pair were more likely to have similar sun-seeking behavior than non-identical twins, indicating that genetics plays a role here. </p><p>Phase 2: The team of researchers then were able to identify five key gene markers involved in this sun-seeking behavior from further analysis of 260,000 participants. Some of the genes indicated have been linked to behaviors traits that are associated with risk-taking and addiction (including smoking and alcohol consumption).</p><p><strong>What does this study really prove? </strong></p><p>Some may think it's natural to become addicted to something that makes you feel good. The physical and mental health benefits of the outdoors have been heavily studied...so what does this study really mean? </p><p>First and foremost, it means more research needs to be done to examine the link between human conditions and exposure to sunlight. Senior author Dr. Mario Falchi explains to the <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/addicted-to-the-sun-its-in-your-genes" target="_blank">King's College London News Center</a>: "Our results suggest that tackling excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds might be more challenging than expected, as it is influenced by genetic factors. It is important for the public to be aware of this predisposition, as it could make people more mindful of their behavior and the potential harms of excessive sun exposure."</p><p>Additionally, it could mean alternative treatments, and further research needs to be conducted in terms of how we treat certain conditions that are caused or heavily influenced by human exposure to sunlight. </p>
A study uses sugar water experiments to show that hummingbirds can see colors invisible to us.
- Hummingbirds can see colors in the ultraviolet range. We cannot.
- The tiny powerhouse derive hues from four types of photoreceptors, as opposed to our three.
- As beautiful as the world already is, let's talk about what hummers see.
Do you know what the first three nonspectral colors are? Nope. Neither do we or any other humans. Maybe you should ask a hummingbird. The colors we know are part of the visible spectrum, a series of electromagnetic waves whose lengths are between 380 and 700 nanometers. (Electromagnetic waves repeat, and a wavelength is the distance between one repeat and the next.)
There are electromagnetic waves whose length is shorter or longer, but we lack the ability to see them. There is some evidence that other species can see these wavelengths — most famously the mantis shrimp — and a new study affirms that hummingbirds can indeed detect non-spectral wavelengths, and thus colors. As if these little creatures weren't already amazing enough.
People all over the world exhibit a fascination with the tiny, beautiful avians that are birds unlike any other. Minute yet powerful, these incredible little energy bombs annually migrate great distances, living only on nectar and sugar water during visits to gardens — anyone who's ever annoyed a hummer by changing their food at feeding time can attest that these little buzzing creatures are not shy. Before getting into hummingbirds' remarkable color perception, here are a few other jaw-dropping stats:
- Hummingbirds can beat their wings from 20 to 200 times per second.
- If a human were to burn as many calories as a hummingbird, that human would have to consume 155,000 calories per day.
- Hummingbirds have larger hearts (by body size) than any other bird, which is good because it can beat 12,000 times per minute.
- The dazzling, iridescent red neck of a male ruby-throated hummingbird is an optical illusion — their chest is actually black, brown, and reddish brown.
Tricky ruby throat
Image source: Steve Byland/Shutterstock
So many colors
The new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America explains why its authors believe hummingbirds can see non-spectral colors.
First, the researchers recruited some volunteers: wild broad-tailed hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus). The experiments took place at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Colorado, an environment researchers took pains to keep as natural as possible during the three-year study. Scientists from Princeton, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Harvard University, University of Maryland, and RMBL were involved in the experiments.
Before dawn each day, the researchers set up a pair of feeders for the birds — one with a rewarding drink of sugar water, the other with unsweetened plain water. Next to each feeder was an LED tube capable of emitting a broad range of colors, including nonspectral colors. Over the course of several hours, the hummingbirds learned that one color — sometimes a nonspectral color — signified the rewarding tube, and another color the plain water. When the feeders' positions were swapped, the hummingbirds simply followed the color, even if it was one the researchers themselves couldn't discern.
Study co-author Harold Eyster recalls, "It was amazing to watch. The ultraviolet+green light and green light looked identical to us, but the hummingbirds kept correctly choosing the ultraviolet+green light associated with sugar water. Our experiments enabled us to get a sneak peek into what the world looks like to a hummingbird."
The tests were run with various spectral and nonspectral color pairings for the two feeders, and the hummingbirds apparently couldn't have cared less which kind of color was employed — they quickly learned where the sugar-water feeder was. The researchers also ran control experiments to make sure the birds weren't being tipped off by smell or some other cue.
Though the experiment was fundamentally pretty simple, the results are stunning. Lead author Mary Caswell Stoddard of Princeton says, "To imagine an extra dimension of color vision — that is the thrill and challenge of studying how avian perception works."
How hummingbirds do this
Human eyes have three types of color receptors, or cones, each of which responds most strongly to a specific range of wavelengths — S-cones specialize in blue, M-cones green, and L-cones red. From combinations of those three basic hues, our eyes and brains present us the millions of colors we perceive.
Though hummingbirds come nowhere near the mantis shrimp's twelve-plus collection of cone types, they do have four, which endows them with tetrachromacy. If we, with our trichromacy, can construct so many colors from three basic hues, imagine what adding a fourth might do. In the hummingbirds' case, the fourth cone type perceives ultraviolet light that can be added to the other three hues for unimaginable (to us) combinations.
"Humans are color-blind compared to birds and many other animals," points out Stoddard. We can only wonder what these colors actually look like to hummingbirds. As RMBL's David Inouye says, "The colors that we see in the fields of wildflowers at our study site, the wildflower capital of Colorado, are stunning to us, but just imagine what those flowers look like to birds with that extra sensory dimension."
A new study enhanced color vision for individuals with the most common type of red-green color blindness.
- Special glasses constructed with technically advanced "spectral notch filters" enhance color vision for individuals with the most common type of red-green color blindness.
- The ability for colorblind participants to experience expanded color channels was demonstrated even after they took the glasses off.
- At least 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women have red-green color vision deficiency (CVD).
Red-green color blindness<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9f521754a6251282533be2acd7174568"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l6AVQOxkzxQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>At least 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women have red-green color vision deficiency (CVD). That's 13 million people in the United States and 350 million globally. </p><p>Someone with "normal" color vision is able to experience one million hues and shades, but those with CVD see a diminished range of colors. They see colors that are more muted and washed out, and some colors are difficult to distinguish and may cause confusion. </p><p>This UC Davis study analyzed the impact of spectral notch filters—EnChroma glasses—on boosting the chromatic responses of observers with red-green CVD over a two-week period of usage. The filters are engineered to increase the separation between color channels to assist colorblind individuals in seeing colors more vibrantly and precisely.</p>
Research findings<p>The study, which was published in the journal <a href="https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0960982220307417" target="_blank">Current Biology</a>, had participants with CVD color blindness wear either the special filter glasses or placebo glasses.</p><p>"Over two weeks, [the participants] kept a diary and were re-tested on days 2, 4 and 11 but without wearing the glasses," UC Davis Health detailed in a news release <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/contenthub/study-finds-that-special-filters-in-glasses-can-help-the-color-blind-see-colors-better/2020/07" target="_blank">statement</a>. "The researchers found that wearing the filter glasses increased responses to chromatic contrast response in individuals with red-green color blindness." It's still not clear how long the enhancement to vision lingers after the filtered glasses are taken off, however evidence shows that the effect lasts for a substantial amount of time.</p>"Extended usage of these glasses boosts chromatic response in those with anomalous trichromacy (red-green color vision deficiency)," <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/study-finds-that-special-filters-in-glasses-can-help-the-color-blind-see-colors-better/2020/07" target="_blank">said John S. Werner</a>, a professor of ophthalmology and a leader in vision science at UC Davis Health. "We found that sustained use over two weeks not only led to increased chromatic contrast response, but, importantly, these improvements persisted when tested without the filters, thereby demonstrating an adaptive visual response."
Seeing color<p>The researchers in this study think that the study's results suggest that modifications of photoreceptor signals activate a plastic post-receptoral substrate in the brain that could possibly be exploited for visual rehabilitation.</p><p>"When I wear the glasses outside, all the colors are extremely vibrant and saturated, and I can look at trees and clearly tell that each tree has a slightly different shade of green compared to the rest," said Alex Zbylut, one of the colorblind study participants who got the placebo glasses first and then tried the special filter version afterwards. "I had no idea how colorful the world is and feel these glasses can help colorblind people better navigate color and appreciate the world."</p><p>Read the study in Current Biology <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(20)30741-7.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982220307417%3Fshowall%3Dtrue" target="_blank">here.</a></p>
Recent studies suggest virtual reality porn can produce a more positive experience than viewing from a monitor or screen.
- Since early 2014 when Ela Darling, an adult entertainment actress recorded her first VR performance, the world of virtual porn has taken off.
- Recent studies suggests VR porn produces a more positive experience than typical porn viewing through a monitor or screen.
- RealityLovers, a top VR porn website, speaks about the benefits of virtual reality porn experiences and the future of VR adult entertainment.
Your brain on VR porn<p><a href="https://www.dailydot.com/debug/vr-porn-brain-study/" target="_blank">Daily Dot</a> covered a study that was done by a popular VR pornography website and the results were quite interesting (albeit from a small sample): according to the study, which had men between the ages of 18-45 watching the same clip on a flat monitor and then again with a VR headset, participants watching VR porn had to work harder to process the information. The article explains:<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>That's not necessarily a bad result... [B]oth VR and PC scored in the cognitive load "sweet spot," where users were neither overwhelmed with information nor bored by it... The participants' motivation, or whether they feel positive or negative about watching certain content, was also greater, or more positive, in the VR test.</em></p>The overall results of this study suggest that VR porn produces a more positive experience but is not too overwhelming. <a href="https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-porn-use-faqs/what-about-virtual-reality-vr-porn/" target="_blank">Various studies</a> have since confirmed this original finding.
The rise of VR porn and what it means for the adult entertainment industry<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyODIyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzMxOTc5OX0.YvFfshnjS5lKESA79Ry5DRISFga_iB9j-0ZFjkDY380/img.jpg?width=980" id="1c10c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1163a4c72e4cc565a59d26eb770769b4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200ba woman with a VR headset on watching VR porn" />
Photo: RealityLovers<p><strong>What is the viewing experience like?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>With some of the top VR porn websites having been around for up to five years now, the continued developments in technology have allowed the adult entertainment industry to advance in ways we could have only imagined, allowing viewers to have an incredibly realistic experience through platforms like <a href="https://realitylovers.com/news/what-is-the-viewing-experience-of-vr-porn-like/" target="_blank">RealityLovers</a>.</p><p>For those who have not yet experienced virtual reality porn, it's a completely immersive way to consume adult content. There are 180-degree and 360-degree porn websites available which allow you to explore the environment you're in, which can include exotic locations around the world or fantasy locations that don't exist in real life.</p><p>One of the most popular experiences is POV (point of view) porn, which allows you to view the scene from a first-person perspective. As you can imagine, this is a particularly popular genre of VR porn, although there are many other genres in existence.</p><p><strong>What equipment do you need to watch VR porn? </strong></p><p>Although VR systems used to be expensive, they are becoming increasingly more popular among the general public. From smartphones and Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and beyond, there are plenty of different options for VR equipment. </p><p>Most virtual reality porn websites are capable of accepting various types of VR systems, but you may need to check with the site to make sure the equipment you have (or are looking to purchase) is compatible with their platform. </p><p>Along with a VR headset of your choosing, there <a href="https://sextoycollective.com/best-male-sex-toys/vr/" target="_blank">are also some sex toys</a> that people choose to use to enhance their virtual reality experience. People who desire a totally immersive experience may opt for something like the <a href="https://www.kiiroo.com/products/the-fleshlight-launch-powered-by-kiiroo?sscid=61k4_pfkyx" target="_blank">Fleshlight Launch</a> (a male interactive sex toy that is able to sync with VR content through select platforms).</p><p><strong>VR porn and beyond…</strong></p><p>If you're curious about virtual reality porn, devices are more affordable than ever and more and more platforms are giving viewers access to virtual reality situations. The sex toy industry has also hopped on board, manufacturing more and more toys that are Bluetooth compatible, meaning you can sync them to your VR system and use them simultaneously. From POV sex to threesomes and more, virtual reality is quickly becoming a favorite way for people to bring their fantasies to life.</p>
Why finding joy is more easily attainable than the pursuit of happiness.
- Joy and happiness are often used synonymously, but designer Ingrid Fetell Lee argues that there is an important distinction between the two: time. Happiness is something that measures how good we feel over time, while joy is about feeling good in the moment.
- Noticing visual and sensorial patterns in the things that brought people joy, Lee was able to identify 10 "aesthetics": abundance, harmony, energy, freedom, play, surprise, transcendence, magic, renewal, and celebration.
- In this video, we learn more about each aesthetic and why focusing on joyful moments is the key to getting the most out of life.