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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 May;21(5):701-4. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0015. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Does electric light stimulate cancer development in children?

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Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA.


Incidence of cancer in children has increased in recent decades, and known risk factors can account for only a small minority of cases. Gestation and early childhood are particularly vulnerable periods in human development and an important aspect of development is in circadian rhythmicity. Emerging evidence implicates the molecular circadian mechanism in a vast array of other physiologic functions including metabolism, DNA damage response and cell-cycle regulation. Electric light exposure at night can disrupt circadian rhythms and, thereby, many other physiologic processes that are under circadian control. On this basis, it is proposed that ill-timed electric light exposure to pregnant women, to neonates, infants, and small children may increase cancer risk in those children. There are practical implications and interventions that accrue from this idea should it later be confirmed to be true.

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