How smartphones negatively affect your brain and body
From the origin of homo sapiens until now, physical changes in the species have been slowly manifesting. Given this reality, taking into account the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin and the intense use we make of the smartphone, the media around the world revealed studies of dubious origin that have left more than one speechless.
One speaks of the existence of the so-called “external occipital protuberance”: a kind of horn, which is located above the neck, just at the base of the skull. That bone would be generated to support the weight of the skull by looking at the cell phone screen and, for the most part, would affect today’s youth.
Almost simultaneously, a series of images was released depicting how a person’s appearance could be converted to 3,000 by the use of technology. After intensive use of the phone or tablet, the human body of the future, created in 3D and dubbed “Mindy”, is hunched over for so many minutes looking down, has double eyelids to be able to look at the screens for longer. and claw or hook-shaped hands due to constant use of mobile devices.
Both “revelations” are false news. Therefore, scientists and anthropologists came out to warn about the implausibility of these stories. Archaeologist Kristina Killgrove did it in Forbes magazine. This scientist points out that the external occipital protuberance is a characteristic studied in anthropology, and its frequency in different populations was demonstrated several decades ago.
Changes in the individual, not in the generations.
Verónica Báez, biochemist and doctor of biology and researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research in Argentina, explained to Cromo that there are no significant changes in the human body due to the use of technology from one generation to another in recent decades.
“Beyond the physical consequences that prolonged use of screens can cause, such as rectification of the spine, poor position of the head or neck or tendinitis associated with the incorrect use of the thumbs, we did not find concrete data on inheritable or transmissible modifications to other generations for this reason, “he said.
Anyway, the expert clarifies that there are more than 1, 000 works on the subject in which it is guaranteed that there is an increase in the sedentary lifestyle due to the use of technology. And, added to unbalanced diets, rich in carbohydrates, fructose and saturated fats, it leads to a significant increase in cases of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Federico Prada, director of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, repeats the same idea: “Definitely, the technology that surrounds us generates changes in people, but they do so on an individual level, not through the following generations” , He says. As proof of this, it is easy to see that many users suffer some bone pain as in the past those who worked in the field at the beginning of agriculture, to name just one example.
On the other hand, Prada explains that for the evolution of a species, a millennium is too small to generate considerable changes in its appearance.
“Most importantly, the changes that occur in homo sapiens are not going in the direction of solving an existing problem,” he said. Which is the reason? “Because evolution does not happen in a directed way, but randomly; That is why no one knows how evolution will surprise us because no one knows what the fate of each species is, “he says.
Our body today, given the excessive use of devices.
While it is not true that today’s children have horns on their skulls for so long with their heads down looking at the phone, or that in the future humans will be born with their hands hooked to hold a device, there is an undeniable reality: the El Excessive use of certain electronic devices is producing an increase in the number of people who manifest neck pain, contractures, and visual problems, to name just a few ailments.
For example, neck contracture syndrome, also known as text neck, that arises from tilting the neck forward to look at, for example, the cell phone screen. Maintaining this position causes the spine to become overloaded, which generally carries about five kilos, which is the average weight of the head in a normal position. However, when the skull is 60 degrees inclined, it is equivalent to the column that supports 27 kilos. By the time this occurs, people may experience headaches, discomfort behind the eyes, contractures, and even dizziness. To avoid this situation, it is recommended to have the screen at eye level.
According to a study by King Saud University in Great Britain, there is a direct association between the timing of smartphone use and neck problems. He came to this conclusion after analyzing the number of patients treated for this condition in the 1990s compared to those seeking treatment in 2017. Meanwhile, research conducted last year by the Indian Orthopedic Research Group revealed that only the 35% of the population has heard of the neck of the text, and of that total, only 21% have knowledge about the preventive measures of this syndrome.
Ocular conditions are another of the most common phenomena, since the overexposure to the screens and the effort we have to make when looking at the results in a lesser amount of blinking, which are essential to keep the eye moist. As a consequence, fatigue and visual stress can occur. In this sense, the World Health Organization affirms that the most common visual disabilities are due to the constant contact of people with multiple screens. To those mentioned are added others such as blurred vision and headaches.
Manipulating the mouse for long hours and using the keyboard of the smartphone can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Basically, the victim feels weakness in the wrist and a tingling sensation. Although it is commonly known as “Whatsappitis” to pain in the thumbs after spending long periods typing on the cell phone with them.
What happened and happens in Uruguay with the Ceibal Plan
Carlos Planel, director of the Degree in Physiotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of the Republic, comments that although the number of people suffering from these ailments in Uruguay is increasing, it cannot be said that the cause is solely due to the use of devices . “These are multi-factor problems. Because, for example, there are those who have a greater predisposition than others to suffer osteoarticular problems, “he says.
The professional detects that users can begin to suffer pain from repetitive movements of the fingers. “Since cell phones do not follow ergonomic lines. In fact, we have wide and large models for small hands, which means that the muscles have to exert more force and a greater number of repetitive movements, which lead to tendinitis ”, details the professional. The panel said that “it is probable” that in the future we will observe cases of osteoarthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb, “which is the one that is more subject to different movements.
”The expert recalls that in the past the use of technological equipment has already generated large-scale impacts on the human body in Uruguay. “When computers for children were launched under the Ceibal Plan, they thought about the device but not the environment. Because the teams relied on the students’ desks, within minutes the children began to say that their necks hurt. This is because the furniture was not ready to work on the computer. The body’s response capacity to adopt this new instrument in class was not considered ”, he explains.
Planel recalls that the measure taken to alleviate this situation was for the children to sit on the floor, with their legs crossed and the computer resting on their knees until the classrooms had adequate furniture to work with the device.
The expert and his colleagues are noticing an increase in postural alterations, although he clarified that there are no quantitative data from the past to make comparisons.
For more information, together with a group of doctors, they are conducting research with 15-year-olds on this topic, which they increasingly consult with local physical therapists.