Posted in cell phones, Health, news, smart devices

Skulls May Change Due to Cell Phone Use

Image above from Science Alert

 

Reports of “horns” growing on the heads of cell phone users is an over-dramatization. However, skull bone growths have been documented on those with “text” or “surf” neck.

A study published in the journal, Scientific Reports, found benign bone growths, known as exostosis, on the skulls of cell phone users.

Study authors looked at 1200 skull xrays (lateral view) and found more prominent bone spurs in younger cell phone users.  Researchers postulate that the growths are adaptive as a result of frequent neck bending when viewing cell phones.

Thus, enthesophyte development may be an adaptive mechanism to further increase the surface area at the tendon/bone interface at sites enduring frequent tensile stress, with bone growth progression taking place in the direction of tensile stress acting on the bone at the point of insertion.

Neck discomfort frequently follows avid cell phone use and many people complain of muscle strain. This study demonstrates how the body tried to adjust for the increase strain on our neck.

These bone spurs should not be confused with “cutaneous horns” which are growths on the face and scalp.

cutaneous-horn-forehead

 

Doctors recommend avoiding excessive time on a cell phone or position it to avoid excessive flexion of one’s neck.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

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Posted in Health, news, smart devices

Experts Warn of Cancer Risks From Wireless Headphones such as AirPods

WSB radio reports hundreds of experts have signed a UN and WHO petition to warn against the cancer risks and medical dangers of AppleAirPods.

The EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radio waves emitted from the Bluetooth technology has been proven to cause health effects in “living organisms.”

And with its close proximity to the human skull, scientists are nervous.

WSB reports:

Not only did the petition mention cancer, it also said neurological disorders and DNA damage have been linked to EMF exposure as well.Although high levels of EMF can generate heat, cause burns and affect cell growth in humans, scientists have not determined the impact of large amounts of relatively low-level EMF exposure, produced by devices like the AirPods.
Although high levels of EMF can generate heat, cause burns and affect cell growth in humans, scientists have not determined the impact of large amounts of relatively low-level EMF exposure, produced by devices like the AirPods.
And despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for the levels of EMF that devices are allowed to expose, the supporters of the petition do not think the recommendations are good enough.

Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

A study from the National Institutes of Health last year reported “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation may be connected to cancer of the adrenal glands and brain.

Tests were performed on mice and rats, using much higher levels of radiation than humans are exposed to.  However, only the male rats demonstrated increase risk or brain tumors.

The study performed by Dr. John Bucher and colleagues at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in North Carolina tested radio frequency radiation (RFR) used in 2G and 3G cell phones.  The minimum amount of radiation given to the mice would be considered the maximum amount of radiation federal regulators allow on humans.  The maximum amount of radiation given to the mice was 4X higher than the maximum allowed in humans.

Hence this was a study that looked at extreme conditions that the average human is not exposed to. However, they cite “clear evidence” that the radiation incited tumors in the rats.

For more on the study see here.

Now in August of 2018, a large study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, however, found no clear evidence of brain tumor risk with cell phone use.

Researchers in this study looked at 9000 people from seven different countries, having a range of occupations, and interviewed them on their occupational electromagnetic frequency (EMF) use.  Sciencealert.com reports 4000 of these patients had brain tumors (glioma and meningioma) and were compared to the other 5000 who didn’t.

The good news is they did not find a correlation between those who sustained a brain tumor and those with high EMF exposure.  However the bad news is they found only a small percentage of those studied actually would be deemed to have “High EMF” exposure hence leaving us still questioning if too much cell phone exposure is still risky.

Study author Javier Villa states, “Although we did not find a positive association, the fact that we observed indication of an increased risk in the group with most recent radiofrequency exposure deserves further investigation,” and suggests, “we shouldn’t worry for now, but we do need to focus future efforts on making sharper tools to analyse any hypothetical risk.”

What do cell phones emit?

Cell phones emit radio waves. These are a form of non-ionizing radiation that provides an energy source through radio frequency.  Ionizing radiation is emitted by xrays, cosmic rays, and radon, and have been linked to cancer as it is a high frequency, high energy form of electromagnetic radiation.  Non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV light, infrared, and lasers.  Although UV radiation may cause skin cancer, the other sources are deemed less dangerous than their ionizing radiation counterparts.

Can cell phone use cause cancer?

One of the more recent studies unveiled in May of 2016 reported cell phone radiation caused brain tumors in mice.  Rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation for 7-9 hours a day, seven days a week, were more prone to develop the malignant gliomas as well has tumors in the heart.  This study was not intended to be translated to human risk, but of course it made headlines and scared us silly.

Prior to this, in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

However, multiple studies have been done, as descriptively outlined by the National Cancer Institute, and are assuring us that there is no imminent danger by our daily use of cell phones.  The NCI also provides recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and FCC stating not enough evidence exists to establish a link between cell phones and cancer.

Can cell phone radiation injure our body’s cells?

Although arguments continue over cell phone radiation causing cancer, it has been proven that heat is given off.  Many people complain their ear gets hot after lengthy cell phone use and studies have yet to determine if cell  phone heat can cause oncogenic changes in cells.  They’ve studied if the radiation affects metabolic activity, and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found visible brain activity changes on the side the cell phone was being used.  They recommended after this study keeping the cell phone away from the body and using a lower radiation emitting phone.

So now what?

We wait and see.  My suggestion is to not overdo it with our phones.  Use the speaker setting when practical so as to not consistently hug the phone to your skull.  Take breaks in between lengthy calls.  Text when appropriate to minimize exposure as well.

The following has been recommended for both children and adults:

  • Keeping the phone away from the body
  • Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
  • Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
  • Removing headsets when not on a call
  • Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

Or do what I do when I talk to my mother, hold the phone 3 feet away from my head.  I can still hear her…..just fine……

 

IMG_1781

The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

 

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in children, Entertainment, Health, Millennials, news, smart devices, Social Media

What Are They Saying? Your Guide to Teen Slang

Once we became accustomed to words like “dope,” “word,” and “sick”, a new generation introduced their vernacular.

Social media has changed the way we talk.  Words need to be abbreviated, and many times one word must assume a whole phrase.

Generation Y’s (Millennials) and Z’s (those born after 1995) have learned to be concise, descriptive, and to the point as technology and social media encourage less characters/keys being used to get one’s point across.

So here’s a guide to what the young ‘uns are saying:

  • GOAT: Greatest Of All Time (you may see pics of goats in Tom Brady jerseys…..”
  • BAE: one’s love, or babe.  Stands for “Before Anyone Else”
  • Lit:  Cool or Awesome!
  • Woke: aware of social issues
  • Gucci:  Good or cool
  • Hundo P – Short for “I’m 100% positive/certain”
  • Squad/Fam: Group of close friends
  • Throw Shade:  Make fun of/criticize, give a nasty look at someone
  • Curve: To reject someone romantically
  • Salty: Bitter about something or someone
  • Ghost: To ignore someone
  • Skurt: to leave, tell someone to go away
  • Sip Tea: mind your own business
  • Ship: relationship
  • Troll:  Those who say nasty things online

Netsanity provides this breakdown:

TeenSlangInfographic

 

And for those of you who need some help translating your kids’ texts:

 

text-message

And we can’t forget the emoji’s. These allow a visual, pictoral way to get one’s message across:

emojis

With building and maintaining strong relationships, communication is key.  For us old dogs, we might need to learn some new tricks.

 

dw sketch.jpg

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

 

Posted in Health, news, smart devices

Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

A study from the National Institutes of Health reports “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation may be connected to cancer of the adrenal glands and brain.

Tests were performed on mice and rats, using much higher levels of radiation than humans are exposed to.  However, only the male rats demonstrated increase risk or brain tumors.

The study performed by Dr. John Bucher and colleagues at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in North Carolina tested radio frequency radiation (RFR) used in 2G and 3G cell phones.  The minimum amount of radiation given to the mice would be considered the maximum amount of radiation federal regulators allow on humans.  The maximum amount of radiation given to the mice was 4X higher than the maximum allowed in humans.

Hence this was a study that looked at extreme conditions that the average human is not exposed to. However, they cite “clear evidence” that the radiation incited tumors in the rats.

For more on the study see here.

Now in August, a large study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, however, found no clear evidence of brain tumor risk with cell phone use.

Researchers in this study looked at 9000 people from seven different countries, having a range of occupations, and interviewed them on their occupational electromagnetic frequency (EMF) use.  Sciencealert.com reports 4000 of these patients had brain tumors (glioma and meningioma) and were compared to the other 5000 who didn’t.

The good news is they did not find a correlation between those who sustained a brain tumor and those with high EMF exposure.  However the bad news is they found only a small percentage of those studied actually would be deemed to have “High EMF” exposure hence leaving us still questioning if too much cell phone exposure is still risky.

Study author Javier Villa states, “Although we did not find a positive association, the fact that we observed indication of an increased risk in the group with most recent radiofrequency exposure deserves further investigation,” and suggests, “we shouldn’t worry for now, but we do need to focus future efforts on making sharper tools to analyse any hypothetical risk.”

What do cell phones emit?

Cell phones emit radio waves. These are a form of non-ionizing radiation that provides an energy source through radio frequency.  Ionizing radiation is emitted by xrays, cosmic rays, and radon, and have been linked to cancer as it is a high frequency, high energy form of electromagnetic radiation.  Non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV light, infrared, and lasers.  Although UV radiation may cause skin cancer, the other sources are deemed less dangerous than their ionizing radiation counterparts.

Can cell phone use cause cancer?

One of the more recent studies unveiled in May of 2016 reported cell phone radiation caused brain tumors in mice.  Rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation for 7-9 hours a day, seven days a week, were more prone to develop the malignant gliomas as well has tumors in the heart.  This study was not intended to be translated to human risk, but of course it made headlines and scared us silly.

Prior to this, in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

However, multiple studies have been done, as descriptively outlined by the National Cancer Institute, and are assuring us that there is no imminent danger by our daily use of cell phones.  The NCI also provides recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and FCC stating not enough evidence exists to establish a link between cell phones and cancer.

Can cell phone radiation injure our body’s cells?

Although arguments continue over cell phone radiation causing cancer, it has been proven that heat is given off.  Many people complain their ear gets hot after lengthy cell phone use and studies have yet to determine if cell  phone heat can cause oncogenic changes in cells.  They’ve studied if the radiation affects metabolic activity, and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found visible brain activity changes on the side the cell phone was being used.  They recommended after this study keeping the cell phone away from the body and using a lower radiation emitting phone.

So now what?

We wait and see.  My suggestion is to not overdo it with our phones.  Use the speaker setting when practical so as to not consistently hug the phone to your skull.  Take breaks in between lengthy calls.  Text when appropriate to minimize exposure as well.

The following has been recommended for both children and adults:

  • Keeping the phone away from the body
  • Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
  • Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
  • Removing headsets when not on a call
  • Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

Or do what I do when I talk to my mother, hold the phone 3 feet away from my head.  I can still hear her…..just fine……

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news, smart devices

Cellphone Use Could Cause Permanent Vision Loss

Avoid the blue light exposure in the dark
Last year we learned that some patients, who were evaluated for a stroke or transient ischemic attack when they had come to the ER complaining of recurrent “temporary blindness” after checking their smartphone in the dark were suffering from a phenomenon, known as ‘smartphone blindness’.  This has also been experienced by many of us when we have the sensation of dimmed vision or poor visual acuity, feeling punished for peeking at our email when we should be sleeping.

But now we have a study suggesting vision loss could be permanent due to the blue light being emitted from our smartphones or laptops.

Researchers from the University of Toledo found blue light will react with retinal, an active form of Vitamin A, that can damage the nearby cells they are designed to stimulate when creating sight.

Researcher Kasun Ratnayake states, “If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves,” and since these cells do not regenerate they are gone for good.

Although a blue-light induced retinal activated cell could prove useful when fighting cancer, this finding is worrisome as millions of people, including children, look at their smartphone and tablet in the dark, depending on the blue light more and more to see their screens.

blue light danger for retina

What is blue light?

Sunlight is made up of the spectrum of colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Blue light is a light along the spectrum that has shorter wavelengths and more energy than red, which has longer wavelengths.  We receive most of our blue light exposure from the sun but we can be exposed as well through our smart devices, LED lights and CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs.

spectrum

Image from preventblindness.org

 

 

Smartphone use linked to retinal detachment

Studies surfaced a few years ago where great lengths of smartphone use can cause retinal detachment.  In these cases the layer of the retina which focuses images, detaches from the back of the eye, causing serious vision loss.  Though there are treatments, if not treated early can cause permanent blindness in the affected eye since the retina loses its blood and oxygen supply when detached.  A woman from China had been using her smartphone for 2-3 hours in the dark each night when this occurred.

Smartphones have also been linked to myopia, near-sightedness, and sleeping disorders as the blue light emitted from the screen can disrupt melatonin production.

A recent study found that 30% of adults spend more than 9 hours a day using their smartphone. Physicians recommend avoiding extended use, adjust settings to black text on white background, and with this recent case study, use both eyes to look at the screen when using the phone at night.

 

Smartphone, Street Lamp Blue Light May Increase Risk of Cancer

A study from the University of Exeter and Barcelona Institute for Global Health finds blue light exposure at night-time to increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

Blue light is emitted from artificial lighting, such as LED’s and smart devices, and has been linked in the past to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Why?  Scientists believe the blue wavelengths in the light disrupt our circadian rhythm, or our body’s biological clock, by suppressing the secretion of melatonin. Poor sleep, and unpredictable body cycles, can affect our metabolism, hence our weight, diabetes risk and cancer risk.

In this study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers reviewed data of more than 4000 patients, between the ages of 20 and 85, from 11 different geographical regions.  They found exposure to blue light at night doubled the risk of prostate cancer in men, and increased breast cancer risk in women by 1.5.

The Sun reports study author Dr. Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel is urging to reduce exposure to outside street lights and use orange wavelength light rather than blue.

“The take-home message is: Use warm orange lights where possible, and shutters and blinds to block street light.

“Also, our findings suggest reducing your night-time exposure to smartphones and tablets could help cut cancer risk.

How to protect your eyes by minimizing blue light exposure

The recommendation to not use your smartdevice at night may not be very practical for many.  So here are some additional tips:

Increasing the size of the font helps your eyes since they don’t need to strain as much to read.  Try to look at your smartphone with a distance of 1 1/2 feet. Blinking often helps rest the eyes as well and keeps them lubricated and moist.

 

Screen time should be limited in the evenings.  Avoid computer/phone screens at least 2-3 hours before bed.

Although LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient, bedroom lighting may need to be swapped for softer bulbs.

If the weather permits, getting some night air and watching the stars may help stimulate one’s melatonin, allowing him/her to get sleepy.

Blue-blocking glasses may help limit exposure if night computer work cannot be avoided.

Additionally there are apps that allow a blue light filter on one’s phone screen.

 

Finally its good to use the 20,20,20 rule.  After every 20 minutes of use, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This may help avoid eyestrain from excessive smartphone use.

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news, smart devices

Study Finds NO Clear Link to Brain Tumors with Cell Phone Use

A large study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain found no clear evidence of brain tumor risk with cell phone use.

Study authors looked at 9000 people from seven different countries, having a range of occupations, and interviewed them on their occupational electromagnetic frequency (EMF) use.  Sciencealert.com reports 4000 of these patients had brain tumors (glioma and meningioma) and were compared to the other 5000 who didn’t.

The good news is they did not find a correlation between those who sustained a brain tumor and those with high EMF exposure.  However the bad news is they found only a small percentage of those studied actually would be deemed to have “High EMF” exposure hence leaving us still questioning if too much cell phone exposure is still risky.

Study author Javier Villa states, “Although we did not find a positive association, the fact that we observed indication of an increased risk in the group with most recent radiofrequency exposure deserves further investigation,” and suggests, “we shouldn’t worry for now, but we do need to focus future efforts on making sharper tools to analyse any hypothetical risk.”

What do cell phones emit?

Cell phones emit radio waves. These are a form of non-ionizing radiation that provides an energy source through radio frequency.  Ionizing radiation is emitted by xrays, cosmic rays, and radon, and have been linked to cancer as it is a high frequency, high energy form of electromagnetic radiation.  Non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV light, infrared, and lasers.  Although UV radiation may cause skin cancer, the other sources are deemed less dangerous than their ionizing radiation counterparts.

Can cell phone use cause cancer?

One of the more recent studies unveiled in May of 2016 reported cell phone radiation caused brain tumors in mice.  Rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation for 7-9 hours a day, seven days a week, were more prone to develop the malignant gliomas as well has tumors in the heart.  This study was not intended to be translated to human risk, but of course it made headlines and scared us silly.

Prior to this, in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

However, multiple studies have been done, as descriptively outlined by the National Cancer Institute, and are assuring us that there is no imminent danger by our daily use of cell phones.  The NCI also provides recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and FCC stating not enough evidence exists to establish a link between cell phones and cancer.

Can cell phone radiation injure our body’s cells?

Although arguments continue over cell phone radiation causing cancer, it has been proven that heat is given off.  Many people complain their ear gets hot after lengthy cell phone use and studies have yet to determine if cell  phone heat can cause oncogenic changes in cells.  They’ve studied if the radiation affects metabolic activity, and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found visible brain activity changes on the side the cell phone was being used.  They recommended after this study keeping the cell phone away from the body and using a lower radiation emitting phone.

So now what?

We wait and see.  My suggestion is to not overdo it with our phones.  Use the speaker setting when practical so as to not consistently hug the phone to your skull.  Take breaks in between lengthy calls.  Text when appropriate to minimize exposure as well.

The following has been recommended for both children and adults:

  • Keeping the phone away from the body
  • Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
  • Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
  • Removing headsets when not on a call
  • Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

Or do what I do when I talk to my mother, hold the phone 3 feet away from my head.  I can still hear her…..just fine……

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news, smart devices

Gaming Disorder Now Considered “Mental Illness”

Those who find themselves playing video games for hours on end may end up with a mental health diagnosis.  The World Health Organization suggested adding “gaming disorder” to its list of disease classifications.

But do those World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Candy Crush fans need to seek professional help immediately?  Well to qualify as having a “gaming disorder”, the WHO suggests the following guidelines:

  • The compulsive pattern of behavior has to exist for at least 12 months.
  • The behavior affects one’s personal life, occupation or health negatively.
  • Once the behavior negatively affects one’s life, the behavior continues or escalates.

They write: impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

They continue:  The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programs for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world, and will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.

Why are we getting addicted?

Video games act on the pleasure centers of the brain, just as alcohol, opiates and chocolate do.  We get “rewarded” by certain behaviors, giving us confidence and ego boots that we don’t get in the real world.  We begin to prefer to be alone with our controller than outside being written up by a supervisor, or turned down by a potential date.  Colors, sounds, awards, level advancement is psychologically addicting.

How to treat a gaming disorder

Many times gaming disorders are accompanied by other internet addictions such as porn and online shopping.  The following are treatment options used to curb one’s compulsive gaming behavior:

  • Limit screen time to one hour a day
  • Screen time holidays, or only use screen time for academic, work purposes
  • Visits to the library to use encyclopedias rather than going to Google (avoiding online ads that could tempt one to continue playing/shopping)
  • Cognitive/behavioral therapy
  • Medications, such as Zoloft, that treat OCD.
  • Treatment of the underlying disorder…depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc.

___________________________________

Some play but some blay….

Blaying is when one continues to play a level of a game despite being bored and disliking it.

Researchers estimate over 420 million people are addicted to the internet.  Smartphone addiction is rising exponentially as well.  These addictions many times involve gaming.  Hours are spent playing online games and levels within these games many times require multiple attempts.  If the level is not mastered, one is “stuck” on the level, but continues to play it in hopes the next level will be “better”.  This is all too time consuming.

Those of you who play Candy Crush know exactly what “blaying is”.  For example, you get stuck on level 2124 and can’t advance until you master that level.  But you hate it.  You keep losing and are really bored with the level.  But everyday you return to blayin the hopes that your luck will change and you can advance to a new level.  Eventually that level gets tiresome and you must blay your way through that one.

maxresdefault.jpg

Another example:  Advancing to a new World of Warcraft level can be so tempting that one blays for weeks until they finally complete all the quests necessary to advance.

Remember “Around the World” in basketball.  One shoots from  different markers on the court and can’t advance until they make a basket.  But some of us get stuck forever on level 3, and cringe everytime we miss.  But we continue to blay until someone wins or has the chutzpah to say “This is boring!”.

But the psychology behind it is fascinating in that rather than having a quitting mentality, the gamer drudges on.  But why go through such boredom and anguish?  If we can get to the psychological root of blaying, maybe we could be a step closer to fighting internet addiction.

______________________________________

Another condition recognized:  Selfitis

The average person performs more selfies in one day than going to the bathroom.  We witness people take pictures of themselves on trains, in lines at the DMV and while shopping at Wal-Mart, only to re-expose us to their obsession on social media.  We can’t escape people’s faces with peering eyes and face contortions no matter what we do as we are forced to feign care and interest in what their expression is telling us while they are ordering a Big Mac.

We’ve all predicted a “mental disorder” would eventually be named for this obsessive and narcissistic behavior that haunts us every screen shot and follows us with every scroll……and now it has.  Two psychiatrists, Janarthanan Balakrishnan from Thiagarajar School of Management in Madurai and Mark D Griffiths of UK’s Nottingham Trent University surveyed 400 students who attended management courses at two colleges in India and classified them as the following

Borderline

One who takes selfies 3 times a day but DOES NOT post on social media.  34% fell into this category.

Acute

One who takes selfies 3 times a day but DOES post on social media.  40.5% fell into this category.

Chronic

One who takes selfies more than 6 times a day while posting on social media, suffered by 25.5% of respondents.

In fact, after the respondents were asked about their selfie habits, many took selfies.

India is a hotbed of selfitis and tragically boasts the highest selfie death rate in the world (76 cases out of 127 world-wide).

Selfies offer numerous incentives in our current social culture.  These include:

  • Cementing the memory in time
  • Being included in social media feeds
  • Preventing the “out of sight, out of mind” concept when it comes to relationships
  • Competition
  • Attention seeking, by hundreds of people at once
  • Manipulation of facial features and weight depending on lighting, filters and poses.

Think about it, if we want to look attractive, and show the world, we have unlimited picture and editing power.

Indian Medical Association President, Dr. KK  Aggarwal, issued the following warning:

A lot of us have become slaves to devised that were really meant to free us and give us more time to experience life and be with people. Unless precautionary measures are taken at the earliest, this addiction can prove detrimental to one’s health in the longer term.

What precautionary measures can be taken?

When any obsession starts setting in, will power must be utilized and boundaries set. However, when this fails, friends and family members need to be recruited. Assign one person to be your “selfie police” who only allows you one selfie a day.  You and he/she can pick the selfie, dress it up, crop it, spending as much time as you need on this one selfie.  Posting will only be allowed once a day.  After exhaustively creating your one selfie, hopefully you realize the futility of your efforts, and maybe you’ll skip a day, and then two.

Remember, “less is more” and your friends will be more excited to see you or your pic if they weren’t supersaturated with you all day long on their social media feed.

Let me know how it works for you, since I’m not ready to detox yet…..

 

selfie.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician