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Health Hazards from Your Smartphone

Health Hazards from Your Smartphone

Let’s ring in the New Year with awareness of some of the health hazards—both mental and physical—that your smartphone dials up.

We reported: Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found “cortical processing in the contemporary brain is uniquely activated” by the use of personal electronic devices, such as a cell phone and that texting commands all or most of your attention. In fact, for one in five it actually alters brain waves! That’s why texting while driving is more dangerous than still-not-safe, hands-free calling; 26 percent of car accidents involve use of a cell phone, including hands-free calling.

Texting or talking on your cell while walking’s no better! Emergency room visits related to texting increased 35 percent from 2010 to 2013. It’s a good bet the numbers are still increasing. Injuries include falling down stairs, tripping over curbs, or stepping into traffic.

But smartphone use doesn’t just cause damage on highways and sidewalks. Research is showing that “cognitive offloading” or letting your smartphone do your thinking for you is dumbing people down, especially people who think more intuitively (emotionally) than analytically. They use smartphones to reason out problems and, say researchers, “forego effortful analytical thinking.”  

We suggested: Use your smartphone for good! Configure your pedometer and track your daily steps (you’re doing 10,000 a day, right?). Find nutritional information about foods you’re buying to help you avoid the Five Food Felons (added sugars and syrups, trans and saturated fats and grains that aren’t 100 percent whole). Then you’ll dial into good health! 

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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