There’s no denying we use phones a tad too much in modern society, regardless of how much we might protest.
You only have to look around while walking down the street or travelling on public transport to see the majority of people engrossed with whatever’s on their screen.
But now it would appear our excessive phone use is actually having a biological impact on our lives, as scientists have discovered that young people are developing horn-like growths in their skull caused by overuse.
No, you didn’t hear that wrong. Researchers in Australia found unusual build-ups of bone in the back of people’s skulls, which are reportedly the result of bad posture.
Bending over a phone results in ‘text neck,’ whereby weight is transferred to the back of the head. This results in the growth of bone around nearby ligaments and tendons, the research – published in Scientific Reports, as per the BBC – states.
David Shahar, a health scientist at the University of The Sunshine Coast, Australia said:
I have been a clinician for 20 years, and only in the last decade, increasingly I have been discovering that my patients have this growth on the skull.
The horn-like growth – also known as the ‘external occipital protuberance’ if you want to get scientific – can be found at the lower back of the skull, just above the neck.
If you aren’t currently feeling the base of your skull to see if you have this weird ‘horn,’ I’ll be honest with you, I’m disappointed. If you’re bald, you might even have noticed it already as it should be visible from behind.
Shahar and his colleague analysed over 1,000 X-rays of skulls from subjects ranging between 18 and 86 years old, measuring any ‘spikes’ and noting what each persons’ posture was like.
They discovered the horn-like spike was far more prevalent than they initially anticipated, and it was a lot more common in the youngest age group. One in four people aged 18-30 had the growth.
The research team found ‘horns’ in 41 per cent of young adults assessed, with men more affected than women, as per the Metro.
Shahar says it’s likely the horns will never go away, only continuing to grow bigger and bigger as we continue to hunch over our phones.
Luckily, it’s rare for them to cause any problems, although researchers advised paying attention to your posture to keep them at bay.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).