Sunlight and SAD syndrome

Sunlight and SAD syndrome

Dr Helen Macdonald explored links between sunlight and general health in the first of the University of Aberdeen's latest series of Cafe Med free talks on Monday 21 January 2013.

The free talks are open to all and take place at the Suttie Centre on the city's Foresterhill campus between 6pm and 8pm - bring together leading figures in medicine and biosciences.

The series kicked off with Feeling Sad? - an exploration of the links between sunlight and health, including conditions such as seasonal affective disorder or SAD syndrome.

Professor Helen Macdonald, Chair in Nutrition and Musculoskeletal Research at the University, chatted about her research on the importance of vitamin D, which is made in our bodies from UV-B light from the sun. She gave an insight into why the seasonal pattern of vitamin D makes us more prone to deficiency in Scotland, and what we can do to make sure we are getting enough.

As well as explaining how artificial UV-B light therapy has been used for years to treat conditions such as rickets and tuberculosis, Professor Macdonald also touched on recent research she collaborated on which revealed alink between sunlight, vitamin D and regulatory cells in the immune system. Those findings might yield new insights into autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and vitiligo.

Dr Allen Shand, Consultant Psychiatrist with NHS Grampian, explained more about SAD syndrome – what it is, and how it is treated.

Café Med is part of the Café Scientifique series which is organised by the University’s Public Engagement with Research Team and supported by a science engagement grant from the Scottish Government.

Full details of all events in our cafe series are available online.

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: 18 January 2013

Ref: 11CAFEMED
Contact: Jennifer Phillips

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