Study Claims Young People are Growing Horns from Smartphone Usage, but Some Experts are Not Convinced
A startling report released research claiming that young people are growing small, horn-like spikes on their skulls from craning their necks from using their phones. The report launched a widespread debate over whether these claims were true, but some experts are saying not so fast.
Researchers David Shahar and Mark Sayers from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia first published this research back in 2016. A follow-up paper was released earlier this year, and the study gained momentum and greater public visibility after the BBC ran a story titled “How modern life is transforming the human skeleton.”
The research shows that young people may be developing these horn-like spikes on their skulls possibly due to the shift in the weight at the back of our spines when looking down at a smartphone. Called an external occipital protuberance, the study found that 41% of participants ages 18 to 30 years old had an enlarged EOP on their skulls. While these appendages are typically found on the elderly, the study’s authors believe we are seeing an increase in them due to our use of technology.
The study, however, is said to lack key parameters for linking the increased appearance of EOP’s with smartphone usage. Dr. Mariana Kersch, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Director of the Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory told CNN “There is no information about the duration or frequency of hand-held device usage in this study, so it is not possible to draw any correlation between the observations of enlarged EOPs and hand-held device usage.”
She continues “The hypothesis regarding the role of hand-held device usage is only speculative and not based on any data presented in this study.” In addition, the study lacks a control group which would be a key factor in determining if smartphone usage is the culprit in driving young people to develop EOP’s.