Two reports suggest constant use of cell phones is making people…horny

Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, have documented the prevalence of bone spurs at the back of the skull among young adults. (Scientific Reports)

A new study in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing horn-like spikes at the base of their necks due to constantly having their heads tilted forward to look at mobile devices, a report in the Washington Post said Thursday.

The horns are actually bone spurs, the Post says. They are caused by the constant forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head. That in turn causes bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments — similar to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion, according to the study.

The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck, according to the Post, which is quoting academic papers from a pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The researchers say the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of mobile technology, like smartphones and other handheld devices that require users to bend their heads forward to see the miniature screens, according to the Post.

It’s the first time that a physiological or skeletal adaption to the penetration of advanced technology into everyday life has been documented, the researchers said.

“An important question is what the future holds for the young adult populations in our study, when development of a degenerative process is evident in such an early stage of their lives?” ask the authors in one paper, published in Nature Research’s peer-reviewed, open-access Scientific Reports.

The study came out last year, but has received fresh attention following the publication last week of a BBC story that considers, “How modern life is transforming the human skeleton.”

Since then, the unusual formations have captured the attention of Australian media, and have variously been dubbed “head horns” or “phone bones” or “spikes” or “weird bumps.”

Each is a fitting description, said David Shahar, the paper’s first author, a chiropractor who recently completed a PhD in biomechanics at Sunshine Coast.

“That is up to anyone’s imagination,” he told The Washington Post. “You may say it looks like a bird’s beak, a horn, a hook.”

However it is designated, Shahar said, the formation is a sign of a serious deformity in posture that can cause chronic headaches and pain in the upper back and neck.

The danger is not the head horn itself, said Mark Sayers, an associate professor of biomechanics at Sunshine Coast who served as Shahar’s supervisor and co-author. Rather, the formation is a “portent of something nasty going on elsewhere, a sign that the head and neck are not in the proper configuration,” he told The Post.

Source: The Washington Post

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