Too much SMS may lead to long-term health effects

The discussion whether excessive use of mobile phone can really cause health problem has been going on and on for years. The most persistent argument was mobile phone radiation can cause brain tumors, infertility, DNA damage and many more. Reports were published about this topic but no solid proof is presented still. But is it really safe? Can excessive use of mobile phone really cause dangers to our health? The answer seems to be a yes.

At this year’s annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, Judith Gold, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the College of Health Professions and Social Work presented preliminary research which suggested that among college students, the more they texted, the more pain they had in their neck and shoulders.

The objective of the study was to determine if there was an association between self-reported musculoskeletal discomfort and number of text messages sent per day in college students.

A questionnaire inquiring about number of text messages sent per day (4 categories: 0, 1-10, 11-20, 21+ messages) was administered to a convenience sample of college students (n = 138) at a large urban university. A body map for noting any discomfort was also included. Upper extremity/back (UE/back) symptoms included all regions above the waist (excluding chest). Separate generalized linear models determined prevalence ratios (PR) for UE/back, shoulder, and neck symptoms.

Gender and age were potential confounders. For the total cohort, there was an association between shoulder discomfort and number of daily text messages (PR = 1.40, 95%CI: 1.05, 1.86). When stratifying on gender, an effect was observed in males (PR = 1.94, 95%CI: 1.22-3.06), but not in females (PR = 1.10, 95%CI: 0.76-1.60).
Similarly, there was effect modification by gender for neck discomfort (PR = 2.52, 95%CI: 1.16-5.46 males; PR = 0.93, 95%CI: 0.61-1.43 females). There was no association with age in any model. Number of daily text messages sent may increase the risk of shoulder or neck discomfort, particularly in males.

“What we’ve seen so far is very similar to what we see with office workers who’ve spent most of their time at a computer, the way the body is positioned for texting stationary shoulders and back with rapidly moving fingers is similar to the position for typing on a computer.” ” said Gold, who directs the Ergonomics and Work Physiology Laboratory. ”

As I always say – everything in moderation. Anything that is too much is bad. God Bless us all!

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