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Frequent Use Of Smartphones Leads To The Growth Of Horns. In The Literal Sense - Alternative View
Frequent Use Of Smartphones Leads To The Growth Of Horns. In The Literal Sense - Alternative View

Video: Frequent Use Of Smartphones Leads To The Growth Of Horns. In The Literal Sense - Alternative View

Video: Frequent Use Of Smartphones Leads To The Growth Of Horns. In The Literal Sense - Alternative View
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Mobile technology has revolutionized the way we live - the way we read, work, communicate, shop, and meet. But this has long been a known thing. However, there is something else that many of us are not yet able to realize - these tiny machines are capable of not only changing our behavior, but also our bodies, which we use in order to use these gadgets. New biomechanical research indicates that young people today tend to grow horny spines - bony growths on the back of the skull, caused by frequent forward bends of the head, which transfers its weight from the spine to the muscles in the back of the head. This, scientists say, leads to bone growth in tendons and ligaments.

The researchers note that the transfer of weight that causes the build-up can be compared to the appearance of calluses on our skin - in response to pressure and abrasion, the skin tightens. Only in this case, people have a small bony bulge or horn just above the neck.

Why is correct posture important?

In several scientific papers, a group of scientists from the Australian University of the Sunshine Coast states that observations of cases of bone growth in adolescents are associated with changes in posture caused by the use of modern technologies. Scientists argue that smartphones and other mobile devices literally twist the human form, requiring us to tilt our heads forward in order to see what is happening on the screen of a small gadget. According to the researchers, their observations are the first documentary evidence of how, in response to the penetration of modern technology into our daily life, our body triggers physiological or skeletal adaptation.

Health professionals have previously noted the appearance of the so-called "text neck" syndrome (a person constantly holds his neck in an inclined position due to frequent use of a mobile device) or tunnel syndrome of the thumb, which researchers associate with frequent gatherings in video games and the use of the numeric keypad of smartphones However, until this point, researchers have never tried to draw parallels between the use of mobile devices and deep bone changes in our body.


The results of this study were published last year, but passed somehow imperceptibly. A new wave of interest in them appeared only after the recent publication by the BBC of a story about how modern technology can change our skeleton. The article attracted the attention of the Australian media, giving rise to a kind of competition between them for the best description of these growths: "horns", "smartphone bones", "thorns", "strange protrusions", were full of headlines.

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According to David Shahar, the lead author of this study, a chiropractor who recently completed his PhD in biomechanics at Sunshine Coast University, either of these definitions is appropriate.

But be that as it may, Shahar notes, this growth is a sign of a serious deformity of posture, which can cause chronic headaches, vertebral and neck pain.

One of the most surprising facts in this study is the size of these growths, Shahar says. On average, it is considered to be quite large when it comes to a length of 3-5 millimeters, however, the sample of scientists included only cases when it was a question of growths measuring at least 10 millimeters.

The danger isn't in the horny growths themselves, says Mark Sayers, an assistant professor of biomechanics at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, who curated Shahar in the study and co-authored it. This growth is, rather, "a signal that something is wrong in the body, that the back and neck are not in the correct position," the researcher notes.

Scientists' work began about three years ago with a series of chest x-rays of patients in Australian hospitals in Queensland. These images partially covered part of the human skull, including the external occipital protuberance, to which some of the cervical ligaments and muscles are attached and where bone growths called enzymes are actually formed.

Contrary to the generally accepted idea of bony horny growths, which, as a rule, are rarely observed and mainly only in the elderly after many years of physical activity, Shahar found that these formations were quite common on X-ray images of young patients, including those in who did not experience any obvious symptoms associated with the presence of these "horns".

The first observations by a group of Australian scientists were published by the journal of Anatomy in 2016. In particular, they reported on the analysis of 218 X-ray images of people aged 18 to 30 years. It turned out that 41 percent (which is much higher than the global statistics) of these young people observed these formations. Scientists then also noted that this feature is more common in men.

Sayers said the problem, called "enlargement of the outer part of the occipital protuberance," was previously so rare that some of its first observers, back in the late 19th century, argued that there really was no increase. Well, the modern world dictates completely different rules and paints a completely different picture.

Another work of scientists was published by the journal Clinical Biomechanics in the spring of 2018. In particular, it dealt with the case of four teenagers. The authors of the study found that the growths are not some kind of genetic factor or a consequence of some kind of disease, but rather are the result of mechanical stress on the muscles of the cervico-cranial region.

Modern technologies and the consequences of their use

In a Scientific Reports article published a month prior to the aforementioned paper, scientists reported an increase in the patient sample and a study of 1,200 X-rays of Queensland patients aged 18 to 86 years. Scientists found growth of bone processes, which was noted in 33 percent of the population and, as it turned out, the incidence of their presence decreased with age.


It turned out that this finding is in stark contrast to the earlier formed scientific idea that the growth of appendages is observed more often in the elderly. Instead, the scientists found that the bony growths are seen in a significantly wider and younger audience. To understand what exactly is the cause of such an anomaly, scientists decided to pay attention to the latest achievements of mankind - events of the past 10-20 years that could affect the posture of young people.

The level of tension required for bone tissue to penetrate the tendon has led the scientist to speculate that this could be caused by handheld mobile devices, in which people tend to tilt their head forward using the muscles in the back of the skull to prevent it from falling. on the chest.

How to fix posture problem?

The fact that the growth of these formations takes a long time, scientists say, may mean that long-term correction of posture will stop it, as well as prevent further consequences of this pathology. The researchers add that the solution to the problem does not necessarily lie solely in the complete rejection of such mobile technologies. There are also less radical options for this.


The scientist insists that people become more attentive to their posture than they began to treat their dental hygiene since the 70s, starting to use a toothbrush and dental floss every day. It is necessary to teach correct posture from childhood, having adopted this practice by various educational institutions. Anyone who uses technology on a daily basis throughout the work day should "recalibrate" their posture at night, the researcher says.

As motivation, he invites everyone to tilt their heads forward and place their hand on the lower back of the skull. If you have these processes, then you will definitely feel them.

Nikolay Khizhnyak

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