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Mobile Devices Harmful To Health, Study Suggests

Jun 22nd, 2012

Mobile devices harmful to healthExcessive and improper use of mobile devices harmful to health, a recent study suggested.

The increasing popularity of devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones can harm posture and overall health as more and more people are using them for work especially outside the office, according to The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the U.K. (CSP). The group’s survey revealed more than 50 percent are spending an average of two hours on such devices each day.

The group has expressed concern over poor posture and improper working practices.

“While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck problems, as well as stress-related illness,” according CSP chairperson Dr. Helena Johnson. “This is especially the case if you’re using handheld devices and not thinking about your posture.”

Without established guidelines, experts suggest that smartphone and tablet users should be aware of the consequences of poor habits while using their devices.

“Unlike desktop computer setups, where there are well-established guidelines based on scientific research, recommendations for people who use touch screens are scarce and sometimes contradictory because they depend on the task you’re doing,” according to Dr. Franklin Tessier, of the University of Alabama.

Aside from back and neck problems, users of touchscreen devices also risk hand and finger injury by using excessive force to compensate for a lack of tactile response on touchscreen devices.

Brain damage is another possible risk of excessive use of mobile devices. The World Health Organization placed cell phones under the category of “possibly carcinogenic,” which means additional research is needed to look into the effects of long-term and heavy use of these devices. Several groups and agencies are conducting their own medical research regarding the issue.

Currently, the majority of the scientific community agree that mobile devices do not pose an immediate threat to the brain but they are still working to confirm this theory.

Additionally, the back-lit screens of mobile devices can contribute to sleep disorders.

Dr. Steven Lockley, neuroscientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, claimed that the blue and green light wavelengths emitted by tablets and smart phones over stimulate users’ brains tricking them into staying awake.
Working with smartphones and tablets can make communication and certain tasks easier, but using them comes with a price. They can be hazardous to your health if used incorrectly.

To avoid neck and back injuries, experts recommend proper posture, frequent breaks, and leaving office work at the office. As a precautionary measure against brain cancer, using headsets for smartphones is encouraged.

Employers can save on chiropractic and health care costs by promoting exercise and minimizing home workloads. Avoiding mobile device use before bedtime will also help users get a good night’s sleep.

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