We’ve been using cell phones for decades now without much evidence on the effects they’re having on our bodies.
Apparently, a study of the shape of young adults’ skulls found that many are adapting to extended phone use by growing horn-like bumps on their heads.
The bumps—called “head horns,” “phone bones,” and, more simply, “spikes”—have been found on adults between the ages of 18 and 30 in a study by researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. They say there’s evidence of the skull adapting to a new posture used to look down at phone screens for extended periods, forming a spur on the back of the skull much in the same way that hands and feet form calluses.
“These formations take a long time to develop, so that means that those individuals who suffer from them probably have been stressing that area since early childhood,” the study’s author David Shahar told the Washington Post, explaining why the phenomenon appears in people who have had cellphone technology for most of their lives.
Co-author Mark Sayers told the paper the spurs are a “portent of something nasty going on elsewhere, a sign that the head and neck are not in the proper configuration.”
Sahar thinks that educating young people about the importance of posture can fight the ill effects of “text neck.” Of course, they could also take a swing at living in the moment, not a phone in sight.
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New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls — bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion. The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck. In academic papers, a pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, argues that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. They say smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what’s happening on the miniature screens. The researchers said their discovery marks the first documentation of a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the penetration of advanced technology into everyday life. Go to washingtonpost.com to read more. (Photo by Scientific Reports)