Researchers using SPECT imaging found that people who go to tanning salons frequently show a brain activity similar to people with drug or alcohol addictions, as reported in a study in Addiction Biology. After being exposed to ultraviolet radiation, frequent tanners demonstrated increased regional cerebral blood flow in brain areas that influence the feeling of reward. "If central nervous system reward mechanisms, similar to those observed in other addictive disorders, are involved in frequent tanning, novel and more dramatic behavioral and pharmacologic treatment approaches to tanning may be useful in preventing morbidity and mortality," said study lead author Dr. Bryon Adinoff from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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