A research team conducted the study at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
‘Young people are growing horns or horn-like bone on their skulls due to excessive usage of mobile phones. About 41 percent of young adults were found to have the growths and men are more likely to develop them than women.’
David Shahar and Mark Sayers, the authors of the study have found that about 41 percent of young adults were found to have the growths and men were more likely to develop them than women.
It is well-known that exercise improves muscle and lung function. However, recently researchers have found that even the skeleton can be moldable. Increased physical activity can make bones stronger and decreased physical activity or inactivity can make bones brittle.
Discovery of Bone Spurs in Young People
When a person sits or stands, the head is in a balanced position. However, when a person tilts his/her head forward, the weight from the spine is shifted to the muscles at the back of the skull and neck. The research team believes that this is causing the tiny horn-like spikes called external occipital protuberance (EOPs) to grow in response to the strain.
In previous studies, scientists thought that the growths developed only in older individuals. However, in this study, Shahar and Sayers found that bone spurs are seen even in young people. The primary reason they say is due to the excessive use of technological devices has caused changes in the bone growth.
About 1,200 participants aged 18 to 86 years were recruited for the study. The research team found that the growths were present in 33 percent of them and for each 10-year increase in age, there has been a drop in their growth rate.
The growths have been observed previously as well. However, Shahar and Sayers are the first to suggest, "They may be linked to sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets."
Although, some people have criticized the research, Shahar and Sayers are keen to raise awareness of this problem. Also, there is a significant amount of interest surrounding this issue.
"We're really pleased that our paper has raised so much interest. As a result, we encourage researchers to do their own data collection and analysis," concludes Sayers.
Shahar, D. & Sayers, M. (2019). Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adult than older age groups. Nature Scientific Reports.