In a story that seems like it comes from a bad parody site that your boomer uncle would post on Facebook in an attempt to own the Millennials…it appears that up to half of young people could be growing horns on the back of their heads because they spend too much time on their phones.
This news comes from Australia, where researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast (note: also fake sounding):
made the bizarre discovery while examining hundreds of X-rays of people aged between 18 and 30, finding almost half had developed bone growths.
Now, you might be tempted to believe this is some kind of divine or karmic punishment against those who give their lives to technology, but in fact it’s about something far more mundane: posture.
They’re the kind of spurs normally seen in hunched-over elderly people who’ve subjected their bodies to long-term poor posture and significant stress loads on their bones.
But the presence of the “horn-like” skull growths raise serious concerns about what extended use of phones is doing to young people’s bodies.
The findings actually emerged at the end of 2018, but were somehow kept under wraps until recently, when the media caught wind, including the BBC and the Washington Post. WaPo delved into the specifics:
New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls — bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion.
The study looked subjects between 18 and 30, and found that the strange growths occurred in 41% of those tested, and ranged in size from 10 to 30 millimeters. They were also able to rule out genetics or injury as a cause of the horns.
The growths represent “muscolosketal degeneration” that result from “long-term stress on the skeleton,” and the theory is that the act of constantly looking down at a device accounts for the new prevalence in younger people. The posture can be corrected without ditching the phones, according to the scientists who conducted the study, but without remedying the underlying cause, the fear is that young people could develop chronic pain and headaches at a young age—even those who are currently asymptomatic.