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Questions about the connection of mobile phones with bone spurs in the skull



A recent study that made headlines about a possible link between excessive use of cell phones and bone spurs in the skull has, according to several reports, had significant shortcomings among lead authors, a chiropractor named David Shahar from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia possibly a conflict of interest – an unknown company that sells cushions to improve posture. Another report published by PBS.com posed another problem: The authors hypothesized the relationship between cranial bone growth and technology, but did not measure the subjects' phone use.

The study was originally published in 201

8 in the prestigious scientific journal Scientific Reports, causing a sensation last week after it was first published in a recent BBC article and then in the Washington Post. (Scientific Reports is part of Nature Research, which also publishes the renowned science journal Nature.) NBC News reported Thursday that the Australian study highlighted how little is known about the effects of excessive use of technology on the human body.

] When Shahar was emailed to NBC News on Tuesday, he was aware of concerns over conflicts of interest. He responded that his research "never suggested a specific treatment to participants because of their bone growth" and that "we merely suggested that, by our conclusion, maintaining the posture from an early age is prudent".

According to Scientific Reports The authors are obliged to explain "competing financial and / or non-financial interests in relation to the work described".

In general, the potential benefit for authors of studies, which could conflict with the study results, is revealed by the researchers involved. Shahar told NBC News that he had offered the magazine a disclosure statement "to be included in the document if they wish to add it."

Studies are usually peer-reviewed by professionals, which means they will be screened by several other experts in the journal before an article is published to ensure its quality and accuracy. In this way, they are more likely to be scientifically sound and to draw reasonable conclusions. The nature applying this practice reviewed the study and released its publication.

Little is known about the physical effects of long service lives of mobile phones, especially among young people. In response to the criticism, Shahar admitted that the researchers speculated on the cause of bone growth. In the study, they wrote: "Although the 'Tablet Revolution' is fully and effectively anchored in our day-to-day activities, we must remember that these devices are only a decade old and may be symptomatic only now.

But Shahar said that he and co-author Mark Sayers did not claim they had actually investigated the technology use of their subjects.

"We have merely pointed out the surprising spread and extent of this bone growth in the young adult population," he said in the email to NBC News on Tuesday. "If in the discussion it had not been speculated about what a Cause this discussion might have been incomplete, as most similar studies do. "

According to the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, Sayers has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in scholarly journals and has worked on more than 30 national and international publications The 2018 study was Shahar's first publication with high-level authorship.

NBC News turned to Scientific Reports to comment on the published study, a spokesperson for the magazine previously told PBS Newshour that they would be the first to publish Check the newspaper and "take action if necessary". DR. Shamard Charles is a medical journalist for NBC News and Today and reports on health policy, health initiatives, diversity in medicine, and new developments in health research and medical treatments.


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