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Youth grows a horn-like bone in the skull due to smartphone use

Is modern life changing the structure of our skeleton?

Much has been discussed about how the use of smartphones affects human health. Researchers have now found that over-use of smartphones causes young people to develop horn-like bone growth behind the skull.

The University of the Sunshine Coast study found that young became horny by overuse of smartphones Developing bone growth at the back of the head. The results of the study have been published in the English journal "Journal of Anatomy."

The use of smartphones leads to skeletal changes in children and adolescents. (Image: bramgino – fotolia)

Growth occurs otherwise only in the elderly

The study analyzed 218 x-ray images between 18 and 30 years. The researchers found that 41 percent of the participants had developed a 10 to 30 millimeter bony growth on the back of the head. Such large horny bony growths were used only in elderly patients and were due to prolonged skeletal stress. However, the changes shown in younger people show that these processes can begin at an early age. The results were surprising, as it usually takes years for such growth to develop, the researchers report. The spread of horny growth also increases when the population gets older.

Using Smartphones Changes Our Stance

"It is important to know that leg traces in most cases only measure a few millimeters, but we found bone spores of 10 to 30 millimeters in the examined young population," study author Dr. David Shahar in a press release. Additional tests, including MR scans and blood tests, exclude the possibility that growth was due to genetic factors or inflammation. The results should be a warning of early development of bone and joint injuries. The reason is the poor posture when using handheld technology. Preventive measures should be taken through modification of posture, researchers say.

How can the problem be solved?

"We assume that the continued increase in muscle building stress depends on the weight of the head by using modern technology over a long period of time," explains Dr. Shahar continues. When people move their heads forward, the weight of the head moves from the back of the legs to the muscles of the neck and head. The increased load then leads to changes, both in the tendons and in the legs. The bonus proliferation itself is not really a big problem. The spread is rather a sign of a persistent wrong attitude that can be easily corrected. The use of mobile phones should be adapted to the posture by recalibration. For example, specially shaped pads may be used or exercises performed to lift the upper chest. Another study by dr. Shahar, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that adult occipital bone growth was greater and more common in young adults than in the elderly. (as)


  • Shahar, David; Sayers, Mark G.L .: A morphological adaptation? The incidence of enlarged outer occipital protrusion in young adults; Journal of Anatomy: https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.12466 (accessed: 22.06.2019)
  • University of the Sunshine Coast (UCL), Australia: Technique that causes "horny" bone growth in adolescent humans: https : //www.usc.edu.au/explore/usc-news-exchange/news-archive/2019/june/tech-use-causing-horn-like-bone-growth-in-young-people (Ring: 22.06 .2019)
  • Shahar, David; Sayers, Mark G. L .: prominent exostosis emerging from the occipital battle is significant and widespread in young adults than older age groups; Scientific reports: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21625-1 (access: 22.06.2019)

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