Yes, smartphones have made our lives easier. At the same time, it has made us clumsy and easily distracted says new research. A research says ever since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, the mobile-related head injuries have spiked. The study was published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Smartphones Behind Mobile-Related Head Injuries
Boris Paskhover, a head and neck surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School says that the phone has moved on to become a mobile platform today. The simple cellphones didn’t distract people so much that they tripped, fell, and hurt themselves. With the invasion of smartphones in the lifestyle, people stopped being aware of their surroundings, the surgeon says.
The data extracted in two decades says it all. Paskhover reveals data between 1998 and 2017 on mobile-related injuries to the head and neck from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database. The data is collected from roughly 100 US hospitals on how head-related injuries were treated in the emergency department.
The database reveals there are 2,501 reported cases of mobile phone-related injuries between 1998 and 2017 from these 100 hospitals. The authors of the study estimate that there are over 76,000 head-related injuries nationwide during the same time frame. Moreover, the study shows that 40 percent of the injuries happened to people aged between 13 to 29. The most common diagnosis was a deep cut on the face.
Database Reveals Mobile-Related Head Injuries
The study categorizes the injuries into two categories: Direct mechanical injuries when someone drops their phone on their face or hitting a sibling with a phone. Second is cellphone use-associated injury when someone trips on the sidewalk while they were distracted by apps on the smartphone. The data revealed that 82 percent suffered from direct injuries, mainly children under 13 years.
The second type of injury accounted for 82 percent of cases, where adults above the age of 50 were at risk. Paskhover is more worried about use-associated injuries as it’s caused when people are distracted like driving and texting, walking and checking notifications. Moreover, Paskhover points out that many of the injuries occurred because people were distracted by Pokemon Go.
Mobile-Related Head Injuries: Risk Factor
While the data is alarming, Paskhover says it’s severely underdeveloped. The study looked at only head and neck injuries. “If someone is walking down the street and they drip and fall, they’re not going to say that they were being a schmuck and looking at their phone. They just say they tripped and fell,” he points out.
However, the rise of such injuries is concerning. If people are reading, texting, or tweeting while crossing the road, they’re bound to get hit by traffic. Smartphone users need to become more aware of the surroundings. Hopefully, the study will bring out some changes in people’s behavior while using smartphones.
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Story first published: Sunday, December 8, 2019, 8:00 [IST]