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Grey skies effect
By Jane Lavender
RESEARCHERS are attempting to discover what effect the grey skies and pouring rain in the North-west has on the health of the region's residents.
A study at Manchester University is looking at the impact sunlight, or lack of it, in the region is having on levels of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and organs.
Dr Lesley Rhodes, the lead researcher from the division of medicines and neurosciences at the university, said: "Sunlight acting through the skin is essential for the body to produce vitamin D.
"There is good evidence from previous research that the levels of the vitamin needed for bone health are higher than previously thought "We therefore need to find out exactly how much sun exposure is required for vitamin D levels."
A deficiency of vitamin D leads to a failure of the bones to grow and causes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults and recent studies on animals have also suggested that it might have an effect in reducing breast, colon and prostate cancers.
The team is carrying out a two-and-a-half year study, funded by Cancer Research UK, and is looking for volunteers.
People need to be in good general health, aged between 20 and 60 and living in Greater Manchester.
Marie Durkin, a clinical research nurse, said: "One group of volunteers will be given a course of simulated sunlight exposure using medicinal lamps this winter, while another will be monitored throughout the coming year to assess the impact of local sunlight exposure. The effect on vitamin D will be assessed through blood samples."
Anyone interested in taking part in the research should contact Marie Durkin at Hope Hospital, on 0161 2063143.
http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/ ... effect.php