Update 6/25: Following the publication of this story, concerns were raised regarding an unknown company of one of the researchers working as a chiropractor. This story has been updated to reflect questions about a potential conflict of interest with his company. The journal, which published the main study in question, said it is investigating the concerns. The researchers say they make minor changes to their paper, but stand by their work.
Mobile technology has changed our lives – how we read, work, communicate, shop and date.
But we already know that.
What we have not yet understood is the way the tiny machines in front of us transform our skeletons and possibly change not only our behavior but our bodies as well.
Recent research in biomechanics suggests that young people develop horny spines on the back of the head – bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, shifting the weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, and bone growth in the tendons and ligaments cause. The weight shift that causes the build-up can be compared to the thickening of the skin to a callus in response to pressure or abrasion.
The result is a hook or horn-like feature that sticks out of the skull just above the neck.  A research team at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, has argued in several peer-reviewed journals that the prevalence of bone growth is skewed in younger adults who have seen them on an x-ray. The cause, they assume, is the prolonged use of smartphones and other handheld devices, where the user has to lean his head forward to understand what is happening on the miniature screens.
Michael Nitabach, Professor of Physiology, Genetics and Neuroscience at The Yale University was unconvinced by the results.
"Unaware of the use of cell phones in persons whose head x-rays have been analyzed, it is impossible to draw conclusions about the correlation between the use of cell phones and cranial morphology," he said.
The researchers behind the conspicuous claims are David Shahar, a chiropractor who recently earned a doctorate in biomechanics from the Sunshine Coast, and his supervisor Mark Sayers, an associate professor of biomechanics at the Sunshine Coast, who more than 60 years alt is peer-reviewed publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Shahar, who runs a clinical practice on the Queensland coast near Brisbane, is also the owner of Dr. Ing. Posture, an online store store referral strategies to improve posture, including the use of its breast pad. He said that during his time in related areas, he had "not been selling the product for a few years."
The main study in which he and his supervisor hypothesized that bone growth might be in young people The result of "deviant posture" resulting from telephone use was reported last year in the scientific reports peer reviewed by Nature Research Access published. The magazine urges the authors to "explain any competing financial and / or non-financial interests in relation to the work described".
Shahar declared no conflict in the study, just as he stated that there were no competing interests in publications in the Journal of Anatomy and Clinical Biomechanics, both peer-reviewed journals requiring disclosure of potential conflicts.
Experts interviewed by the Washington Post found this decision problematic.
"There is no question that other scientists and the public are discussing it Legislators and journalists should know if there are conflicts of interest for people who work in an area where they call themselves independent," said Simon Chapman, emeritus official Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney and Publisher
Shahar claimed there was no conflict because he had not recommended a specific course
Scientific reports declined to provide an editor for comments and gave one A speaker's statement that the journal "deals with issues" paper and would "take action where appropriate".
"If we become unaware of undisclosed competing interests that do not conform to our policies, we will carefully investigate the matter and, if necessary, update the literature to ensure that the scientific records are accurate." added the speaker.
If there is another need for a conflict of interest, co-author Sayers said, "I'm glad to raise my hand and say that this may be a mistake."
"I do not have it but David is actually a chiropractor. "Sayers said he was" confident "in the data that was" freely available "in the ou research bank.
For another study published this year, which examined the effectiveness of a spinal pressure release device, Shahar revealed a potential conflict. The article, which appears in the peer-reviewed Spine Journal, says the author is "the developer of the thorax pillow."
According to specialists in the field of research ethics, distinguishing between testing a particular product and suggesting a more general intervention is less significant than it may seem.
In a 2012 review, Chapman noted that Australian universities do not hold academics accountable for complying with standards that explain competing interests. Equally acute is the problem for journals, few of which have the resources to independently investigate possible conflicts.
To benefit from your own research, you do not necessarily discredit it, said Nancy Berlinger, a researcher at Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in New York.
"Many clinical investigators are working on a patent, for example," she said. Disclosure allows the academic community and the public to decide if the presentation is still trustworthy.
Brian Earp, deputy director of the Yale-Hastings Ethics and Health Policy Program, said readers may wish to apply. "Increased care in evaluating the investigation methods" when it is known that an author has a legitimate interest in the availability of evidence for a particular conclusion.
The research published in Scientific Reports, which received widespread coverage following last week's coverage in The Post, has been severely criticized. The skepticism was based on the source and size of the sample as well as the ability to use X-ray evidence to draw conclusions about the use of smartphones, some of which came from patients with mild neck problems.
John Hawks, a biological anthropologist at The University of Wisconsin at Madison, provided other explanations for bone growth at the back of the head, arguing that the protrusions were actually minimal. Shahar said an outgrowth was only included in her research when it was 10 millimeters or about two fifths of an inch.
Although the study came out last year, after the recent release of a BBC story, it first caught the attention of new considerations: "How modern life alters the human skeleton." The unusual formations caught the attention of Australian media and were variously described as "headphones" or "telephone bones" or "spikes" or "strange bumps" fitting description, Shahar said.
"That's everyone's imagination," he said. "You could say it looks like a bird's beak, a horn, a hook." Much of the interest aroused by the study focused on the use of the term "horns," which made Shahar clarify that he used the term in interviews as an analogy to understand how the formations look.
He argued that structures and conditions are often named after their appearance rather than what they represent chemically. As an example he mentioned the Occipital-Horn syndrome, a connective tissue disease.
The researchers said that their discovery represents the first documentation of a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the advance of advanced technologies into everyday life.
Health experts warn against "text neck" and doctors have begun to treat "texting thumb", which is not a well-defined condition, but similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, previous research has not linked telephone use to bone-deep changes in the body.
Her work began about three years ago with a stack of cervical x-rays in Queensland, some at Shahar's own clinic. The images captured part of the skull, including the area where the bony prominences called enthesophytes form at the back of the head.
Contrary to the conventional understanding of the horn-like structures that were thought to occur only rarely and mainly among them. In older people who suffered from prolonged stress, Shahar noted that they did not affect younger subjects, including those who had no obvious symptoms were clearly visible from 218 X-ray exposures of subjects aged 18 to 30 years, suggesting that bone growth was observed in 41 percent of young adults, far more than previously thought. The feature was more common in males than females.
The effect – known as the enlarged outer back of the head head – used to be so unusual, Sayers said that one of his early observers had objected towards the end of the 19th century. His title argued that there was no real head start.
That is no longer the case, researchers say.
Another article, published in Clinical Biomechanics in the spring of 2018, suggested a case study involving four teenagers that the headphones were not caused by genetic factors or inflammation, and instead by mechanical stress on the muscles in the skull and neck pointed.
In the previous month's article, Scientific Reports zoomed out a sample of 1,200 X-rays from subjects in Queensland aged 18 to 86. The researchers found that the size of bone growth that was present in 33 percent of the population actually decreased with age. This discovery was in sharp contrast to the existing scientific evidence that the slow, degenerative process was associated with aging.
The danger is not the bone spur itself, Sayers noted. Rather, the formation is a "sign that something bad is going on elsewhere, a sign that the head and neck are not in the right configuration." "
" These formations develop only after a long time, which means that those who suffer from it probably emphasize this area since their early childhood, "explained Shahar.
To understand what drove the effect, The recent developments – circumstances in the last 10 or 20 years – have changed the attitude of young people.
The strain that bones require to infiltrate the tendon indicated him on hand implements that point the head forward and backward moving down and using the muscles on the back of the skull to prevent the head from falling to the chest. "What happens to the technology?" Shahar asked. "People are more sedentary, they head up to look at their devices. This requires an adaptive process for load balancing. "
The fact that bone growth develops over a long period of time suggests that prolonged posture improvement can halt it and prevent the associated effects, the authors say.  48] Sayers said the answer does not necessarily abjure technology. There are fewer drastic interventions.
"What we need are coping mechanisms that show how important technology has become in our lives."
Shahar, in his work as a chiropractor, insists that people be like regiments on posture as reflected in the posture To dental hygiene in the 1970s, when body care was about brushing and flossing every day. Schools should teach simple housing strategies, he said. Anyone who uses technology during the day should get used to recalibrating their posture at night.
As motivation, he proposed to bring a hand to the lower back of the head. Those who have the horn-like trait can probably feel it.
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