Can brain tissue get sunburned?

I recently saw a comic book character (one in a long line of similar characters) who has a transparent dome for a cranium, exposing her brain beneath. As per the course for such fashion, she’s of course completely lacking dura mater, to better serve the aesthetic function.

Now, musing over the possible medical complications of having your brain exposed in such a fashion, the question occurred to me: can brain tissue get sunburned? Assuming the skull dome didn’t provide sufficient protection.

Now, I’m not a medical expert, but I’m of the understanding that a “sunburn” is simply the result of excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure. And thus, any living tissue would be susceptible to the same.

But I don’t technically know for sure, so I figure I should ask. Although I doubt that anyone here has any kind of firsthand or scientific experience in exposing human innards to excessive sunlight. (Or at least I kinda hope not)

So, stupid, silly, gross question, with a seemingly obvious answer, but I’d like to check with the experts to be sure. Can anyone enlighten my mind—very non-literally, hopefully?

This one?

On the nosey!

(Olfactory bulb?)

I don’t think you’ll get anything but the intuitive answer, it’s not likely to be actually studied. Also, my guess would be that the damage would be permanent.

I think that’s the case, and further, the purpose of pigmentation in your skin is to soak up the UV light with relatively little damage. So exposing a part of your body with no pigmentation to the sun would be disastrous.

A while back, there was a fad of “perenium tanning”, where you drop trow, bend over, and let the sun shine where it typically doesn’t. This area has little pigmentation and is not intended to be exposed to the sun, so this is a really bad idea.

This seems to be completely at odds with the fad of anal bleaching (safe for work link, but probably only just…)

I once went on a trip with a very pale skinned friend, who managed to get serious sunburn on the soles of his feet.

I can’t imagine the pain on the perineum, let alone the bleached anus.

I figure perenium tanning and anal bleaching have the exact same purpose: to make the anus stand out less from its surroundings.

For some reason, reading the OP I felt certain it hails from the early days of SDMB, much missed: wordy, carefully constructed, interesting in an off-the-wall kind of way, and chuckle-worthy.

I feel brain would handle the sun about as well as skin that’s suffered bad 2+ degree burns - very badly.

We’ve seen calls for “testicular tanning” to increase virility.

There’s evidence that stimulation of the amygdala and hypothalamus increases sexual activity.

This it follows that selective skull trephination to allow sunlight to reach these critical brain regions would have similar effects. All we need are some brave volunteers…

I know you of all people know this, but considering where those brain parts are located, we’re going to need to go a lot deeper than just through the skull to let the sexy sunshine in.

Maybe slender fiber-optic rods could be inserted from the crown of the head all the way down to the targets. Without doing too much damage to the rest of the “volunteers”’ brains. Maybe.

Of course! Once Elon Musk’s Neuralink takes off, the next logical step is to add RGB lights to the brain inserts. Not only will it make you a “pro gamer”, it will provide all the benefits of brain tanning without the harmful UV lights!

I suppose someone might try an experiment with dead tissue or partially alive in a petri dish, but a full-on functioning brain would require Nazi level research standards.

I would also hypothesize that pretty minimal exposure could result in profound cognitive impairment.

There’d still be ethical issues, to be sure, but humans aren’t the only creatures with brains, and an experiment on some other mammal would be well short of “Nazi level standards”.

Fair point, I was assuming human brains for no particular reason. Although that would probably give you the easiest assessment of early, minor damage.

The first thing that came to my brain was to check if there had been any studies involving ultraviolet light on neural tissue. I googled and found this article:

Focal brain lesions induced with ultraviolet irradiation

Here, we developed a novel method for creating a lesion on the cortical surface via 365 nm ultraviolet (UV) irradiation without breaking the dura mater.

I then also found this article, that is about sunlight and heat radiation. That isn’t the same thing, but it demonstrates that sunlight exposure can cause cognitive issues–and that’s with the skin and skull in the way.

Direct exposure of the head to solar heat radiation impairs motor-cognitive performance

Acute exposure did not affect any performance measures, whereas prolonged exposure of the head and neck provoked an elevation of the core temperature by 1 °C and significant impairments of cognitively dominated and motor task performances.

And that bored woman is balancing a book on her head, why?

Is she blocking the sun’s rays?

Something similar with the Tin Man and funnel?

Sorry for the late response—but, you see? This is EXACTLY the kind of superb, brilliant input on an esoteric subject that makes this place so fiercely dear to my heart.

Awesome. Thank you, sir, and everyone else as well! I knew I could count on you. :sunglasses: