Horns grow on young peoples’ heads due to gadget use

Grant Boone
June 21, 2019

The study by Scientific Reports examined 1,200 X-rays of Australian adults between 18 and 30 and found over 40 percent had developed a spur at the base of their skulls.

A second study of 1,000 people found the odd growths were larger and more common with young adults that with the older population, suggesting they are a relatively recent phenomenon.

The effect - known as enlarged external occipital protuberance - used to be so uncommon, Sayers said, that one of its early observers, toward the end of the 19th century, objected to its title, arguing that there was no real protrusion. Regardless of whether these bone spurs are actually harmful, the study's findings are definitely freaky. There is some evidence that excessive phone use could be making us narcissistic, and the social media apps that ping from our pockets can be detrimental to our mental health.

Researchers say the phenomenon was more prevalent among men than among women. Larger spurs, those of 3 to 5 millimeters in length, were more prominent in younger people as well.

Dr Shahar explained: "Shifting the head forwards results in the transfer of the head's weight from the bones of the spine to the muscles at the back of the neck and head".

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Anxious about the effect of phones on your own body? They don't even claim that device use and appendages are correlated.

The new bone formations, ranging from 10 to 30 millimetres in size, "may be linked to sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets", the researchers state in their paper.

The answer is not necessarily swearing off technology, Shahar told The Washington Post. At least, there are less drastic interventions.

Shahar is pressing people to become as regimented about posture as they became about dental hygiene in the 1970s, when personal care came to involve brushing and flossing every day. Schools should teach simple posture strategies, he told the The Washington Post. If they need motivation to do so, they should feel the lower rear of their skull to check for bone spurs.

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