back to article Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU

Medical boffins have codified two new gadget-derived diseases. The new “Digitillnesses” are known as “text neck” and “telepressure”. The former, as detailed [PDF] by Kenneth Hansraj MD, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, results from the fact that looking down at a smartphone puts …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah... Right

    Again, the remedy is simple: don't stress about rapid response to email and, if you're a manager, let it be known that rapid responses to email aren't required. Especially outside working hours.

    We used to call this the CrackBerry Syndrome. When the CrackBerry came out, the "I will respond immediately" proved so addictive that people could not live without it - I was seeing people on flights mindlessly fiddling with the control wheel on their CrackBerry just to continue the always-on feeling. The funniest part was our new director of Sales and Marketing at the time. We got a 2am priority 1 emergency call - "EMAIL IS NOT WORKING!!!". Well, what happened was that we deployed a new version of the antispam system so his "crotch area" stopped being stimulated every 10 minutes by the CrackBerry in his pocket or so so he panicked. As a result I had to adjust for him personally the SpamAssassin pass score down to under 5 to keep the stimulation levels.

    All I can say - some people need a life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah... Right

      HAHAHAHAHA

      You owe me a new keyboard!

      On the flip side, wonder if all the craplooza about "dangerous WiFi" is actually a scam to get people to use fiber instead, given that ISPs are noticing a drop in usage because people are using public access points and not their (slow) home internet.

      Also occurs to me that "electromagnetic hyperasshativity" or "EASY" is actually a scam to avoid work and/or get "free" medically approved time off because people can't be bothered to work.

      In which case a simple test would be a handheld "Death Ray" with blinkenlights and a convincing looking waveguide and emitter to see if the thus afflicted drop like stones when zapped.

      If so then cut their benefits, sign afflicted up for a 3 month stay in psychotherapy and CBT, simplez!

      Judging by the number of search returns on Google I start to wonder if the scare pages should be replaced by "Correlation does not prove causation" in 72 point BOLD font and a link to a psychology site.

  2. Grikath Silver badge

    funny....

    Books, often requiring the same head postures, never seem to have had the same effect.

    Now it's waiting for a lung specialist to come up with "Oxygen damages your lungs! ", using appropriate medico-waffle, of course, else it doesn't count.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: funny....

      "Oxygen damages your lungs! "

      Actually, breathing high concentrations of O2 DOES damage the lungs

    2. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: funny....

      The flaw in your observation is the audience (and people can call me a snob if you like). Not everybody reads books regularly.

      People who read books regularly tend to have been reading books for most of their lives, and will have developed the correct muscle structure to handle the changed force angles, a structure that developed through childhood as their bodies morphed to adulthood.

      Smartphones are now being used for several hours per day by people who haven't picked up a book in 20-30 years.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: funny....

        Smartphones are now being used for several hours per day by people who haven't picked up a book in 20-30 years.

        "It's too late, iPhone hipster! It was always too late!"

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: funny....

      "Books, often requiring the same head postures, never seem to have had the same effect."

      Or drinking a cup of tea, or eating a sandwich, or just examining something interesting that you've picked up for a closer look.

      Funny, when it's done to accommodate something new, it's "undue stress", but when you do the same activity for old fashioned reasons, it's "exercise, and you need to do more of it!"

  3. ratfox Silver badge

    I have a memory that people used to talk how mobile phones were bad for your health due to the radio waves going through your brain… And the single study "supporting" this view that existed at a time was a study from the 1980s showing that people who owned a mobile phone were more stressed than others.

    There might have been more studies since then, but I haven't heard of it. People still worry about having a cell phone tower near their house, though.

    1. PassiveSmoking

      I wish they'd build a cell tower near mine. The signal's shit.

    2. Infernoz Bronze badge

      There have been a lot of studies and presentations by private and state groups which have not been published in the mainstream media, where it is the microwave pulses which damage cells, not heating, including cancer by where a mobile was held for long periods. The effects near mobile masts have literally felt shocking for some, especially for mobile masts placed close to residential rooms on top of buildings.

      I keep my mobile phone several cm away from my body in a back pack or on a table and always use a Bluetooth headphone with microphone for calls, but mostly have it in aircraft mode, to limit exposure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Genuine question

        "and always use a Bluetooth headphone"

        Is that not strapping a wireless antenna to the side of your head or are bluetooth radio waves less damaging than those from the phone?

        1. Chemist

          Re: Genuine question

          "Is that not strapping a wireless antenna to the side of your head or are bluetooth radio waves less damaging than those from the phone?"

          Well the bluetooth headset is very much lower power than the phone esp. when the phone is transmitting in a poor signal area or inside a vehicle.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Genuine question

            "Well the bluetooth headset is very much lower power than the phone esp. when the phone is transmitting in a poor signal area or inside a vehicle."

            Get it, thanks for taking the time to explain.

      2. Richard 81

        @Infernoz

        [Citation needed]

      3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        WOAH those cancer rates are skyrocketing!

        There have been a lot of studies and presentations by private and state groups which have not been published in the mainstream media, where it is the microwave pulses which damage cells, not heating, including cancer by where a mobile was held for long periods.

        [citation needed] and meetings by state-funded idiots and neurotic get-togethers don't count.

        Also:

        microwave pulses which damage cells

        Not understanding anything about carrier frequencies and mistaking "pulses" for some force-applying magic stuff FAIL.

  4. Novex

    Re Telepressure: If a quick response is wanted...

    ...then they should phone me. Equally, if I want a quick response, I'll phone. I mean, that's what a phone (smart or otherwise) is for, isn't it?

    * Of course, in this day and age much communication seems to be about dishing out hassle to other people just to deliberately irritate them so that the 'disher' can feel smug about being 'in authority'. Actually communicating for the purposes of getting a job done seems to have become somewhat rare.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Mushroom

    He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

    “As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees,” Hansraj writes.

    Having studied astronomy and physics, let me assert:

    The scientific unit of force is NOT pounds!!

    If you do not use SI units in science writing at least have the decency to convert to more accepted units like the Norris (so moving from 1.2 Norris to 2.67 Norris).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

      This is the US remember, so they measure things in medieval language, you know, 32,000 pounds of thrust, 27 quarts of water and 2 1/2 donkeys of storage.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

        Plus American doctors are anything but scientific.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

          How can you say they aren't scientific? They enter the symptoms into their iPad and it tells them what the problem is, how to treat it and write you a prescription for the most expensive appropriate pharmacological remedy just like the nice sales rep told them to do. If that doesn't work they move to the second problem shown on the iPad and give you a piece of paper for a different medication. They proceed likewise until either you are either cured or dead but they test every single possible problem the iPad app came up with all scienterrorific like.

          1. Vic
            Boffin

            Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

            They enter the symptoms into their iPad and it tells them what the problem is, how to treat it and write you a prescription

            "Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded"

            I'm going to have to go and watch that again now...

            Vic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

        You must be in the European state of UK where they use daft French measurement units that are literally twice as inaccurate, cost an inordinate amount of money to convert to, have no return on investment and have no redeeming purpose except to leave more liquids of all kinds for the people still using the antiquated "English" measurements because 1 US gallon of gasoline is still less expensive than 4 Liters of your "petrol" or beer. BTW, we actually have decent beer here we just prefer it colder and won't send it to you mincing limey arsewipes.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

          Here on the continent I prefer to get my beer from Belgium. Where's that Westmalle Tripel?

          Next time I am in the US I will certainly try some of the micro-brewery beers I have heard good reports of.

    2. cortland

      Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

      Also, momentum is slug fps (US) or Newtons/sec in EU and the UK; arguably Fig Newtons, if hit with a sack of figs. It wasn't so very long ago (historically) that I was being coached on farthing's, ha'pennies, tuppence, thruppence and the like. And weight in stones.

    3. Vic

      Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

      The scientific unit of force is NOT pounds!!

      Yes, but this is not a study aimed at the scientifically-literate.

      The giveaway, to my mind, is the values quoted - 60 pounds at 60 degrees? That implies a head weight of nearly 70 pounds, which is getting on for half my body weight. And I'm no racing snake these days...

      Of course, these might be instantaneous forces, rather than static loading - in which case, it's surely the act of addressing your phone like you're at the Headbanger's Ball that is to blame, rather than the phone use.

      Vic.

  6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "Coworker"?

    That spelling is bullocks ... unless of course your friend works with bovines ...

    1. Richard 81

      Cow-orker?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Cow-orkers have been a known staple of Usenet since the early 90s.

  7. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It's a real disease with doctors and medicine and everything!

    It's my cross to bear.

  8. John Tserkezis

    Reminds me of that "joke" in which pharmaceutical companies invent, then cure a disease right afterwards.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Basically, humans were screwed when they came down from the trees and started walking about the savannah. The spine is not designed for upright posture to start with.

    The typical American doctor can't find his ass w/o a copy of Grey's.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Logic fail

      The spine is not designed for upright posture to start with.

      Especially if it is not upright in the first place, hmmmm?

      In martial arts, you get constantly reminded to keep your STUPID SPINE UPRIGHT. There must be some kind of reason to that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If spines are not designed for upright posture (I disagree; I believe evolution adapted the spine), then what about other upright vertebrates? Gorillas and other apes? What about the giraffe?

  10. PassiveSmoking

    I'd say the bigger danger is walking under the wheels of a bus, or driving into a baby stroller (for pedestrians and drivers, respectively).

  11. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Find me a lawyer!

    If leaning forward over electronic devices is the cause of the pains that mean I no longer dare take an office-based job with my posture constrained by a regular desk and chair, I have a bunch of former employers to sue!

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    Oh wah.

    That looks like the standard posture of assembly line workers...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Oh wah.

      No.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Oh wah.

        Come visit the place I work sometime...

  13. Peter 48

    graphic

    I presume the posture on the left is someone using a large screen phablet like the nexus 6 and the one on the far right is your typical iphone 4/s user?

  14. cortland

    Why

    Why were we not warned as schoolchildren that we were reading too much with books on a table or desk? Or writing there? Shall our parents, school teachers, and headmasters or school principals expect lawsuits? Is this now an officially recognized occupational health hazard that will have everyone writing and typing at eye level? Will the next warning add bursitis and shoulder injury?

    http://www.ukessays.com/essays/health-and-social-care/shoulder-pain-among-office-workers-health-and-social-care-essay.php

  15. Zangetsu
    WTF?

    bending your neck to read email makes your head weigh 22 tons but reading a book will kill you.

    a "scientist" said it so it MUST be true !

    the head was not designed to move at all !!!!!!!

    *hides under the bed until the bad men go away*

  16. OldAmericanChickinUK

    Don't I know it!

    Having worked in offices all my life and on computers since they first arrived in the good ole US of A, I can honestly say that I have had this problem for going on 30 years. Nowt (nothing to you Americans still over there) to do with texting/emailing/anything-else-you-cand-do-on-your-appendage, just poor posture, PP&S.

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