GEORGE HAMILTON'S SMILE, EXPLAINED The ultraviolet (UV) radiation used in indoor tanning beds may make frequent users happier and more relaxed, new research suggests.

"Tanning isn't just about pigment change," according to Steven R. Feldman of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who led the study. "UV radiation has complex effects, among them an effect on mood, at least in frequent tanners. For some people it seems to become almost like an addiction."

Not everybody is susceptible to this effect. "I think that the people who tan four to six times before the prom or a cruise don't have the same response," Feldman said. "Like a lot of other things, tanning is bad when done to excess."

Although exposure to ultraviolet radiation has been linked to skin cancer, sunless tanning has become more and more popular in the United States, according to the researchers' report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In the study of 14 individuals, tanners felt more relaxed and less tense after using a UV tanning bed than they did after using a dummy tanning bed.

UV radiation may trigger skin to produce substances called endorphins, which are associated with pleasure, the report suggests.

EGGING ON SPERM Combined treatment with L-carnitine, a popular dietary supplement, and L-acetyl-carnitine, a related chemical, appears to improve sperm motility in men with fertility problems, according to new research.

In a study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility, 60 infertile men between 20 and 40 years old were randomly selected to take a combination of L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine or a placebo for six months.

Researchers at the University of Rome report that two months after the completion of therapy, men who took the combined treatment had increases in sperm concentration, forward movement and total movement. The most significant improvements in sperm motility were observed in men who had the least active sperm when the study began.

The researchers note that four spontaneous pregnancies were achieved during the study by men who had taken the combination therapy.

SO NOTED "He saw only despair ahead and felt only pain in his present. Pain and despair so potent that he sought suicide as a release."

-- Sen. Gordon Smith (R.-Ore.), recalling his son, Garrett, who killed himself last September, one day before his 22nd birthday. The Senate subsequently passed a $60 million bill to help states develop prevention strategies and fund mental health services on college campuses.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports