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What Is The Link Between Streetlights And Diabetes?

Yes, I did write streetlights in the title, and yes, I will tell you how streetlights and diabetes are linked. As surprising as it may come, a recent study has found some link between the two, suggesting that streetlights may increase diabetes risk [1].

The Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine in China found a correlation between outdoor artificial light at night (LAN) exposure and diabetes risk. It was recently published in Diabetologia, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes journal.

What Is The Relationship Between Diabetes And Streetlights?

In past research, light pollution from artificial local area networks has been shown to impact human health negatively. For example, several studies have linked artificial LAN exposure to sleeping disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, and obesity. Several studies have also indicated that artificial LANs may increase the risk of certain cancers [2][3].

The LAN refers [4] to the amount of light seen outside of businesses at night from lighted signs, streetlights, parking lot lights, vehicle headlights, lights outside of homes, etc.

In larger urban areas, there is greater light pollution and sky glow due to this light bouncing into the night sky.

Here is how the researchers linked diabetes and LAN:

Point 1: The lead author of this study indicates that the team decided to study the effects of artificial LAN because the prevalence of diabetes in China has increased continuously over the past few decades.

Point 2: Environmental risk factors and their impact on cardiometabolic diseases have recently received increased attention, allowing for identifying unconventional and novel risk factors of diabetes [5].

Point 3: According to analysis, people exposed to the highest levels of artificial LANs have a 28 per cent increased risk of developing diabetes compared to those exposed to the lowest levels of artificial LANs.

Point 4: A higher BMI was also observed in people in higher exposure groups. In contrast, a higher level of physical activity was observed in those in lower exposure groups.

Point 5: According to the study, prolonged exposure to LAN could alter the profile of hormones such as corticosterone and melatonin. As well as altering clock gene expression in the hypothalamus and peripheral organs. LAN exposure could also affect gene expression in peripheral organs. Physiological changes may result in disturbances in glucose metabolism, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

On A Final Note...

A significant number of associations and areas for further investigation have been identified in this study, which could provide the basis for another focus of intervention in preventing diabetes by modifying risk factors.

In modern societies where night-time light exposure is common both indoors and outdoors, the effects of light exposure at night on diabetes may be significant. Therefore, inventions can be developed to reduce LAN exposure in order to prevent diabetes if a causal relationship between light at night and diabetes is established.

Story first published: Sunday, November 20, 2022, 13:13 [IST]
Read more about: diabetes lights risk
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