Remember years ago when few knew the dangers of smoking cigarettes? Well now in 2018 we are facing a similar issue of the unknown.
A new study shows that addiction to smart phones can cause buildup in plaque in the brain, the same plaque that is linked to Alzheimer’s. Brain scans of young people in their 20’s are showing plaque buildup from constant technology use. Millennials (and I’m one of them) are the test-dummy generation for perpetual technology use.
Paola Sandroni MD, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic of Minnesota, says that there isn’t a certain way to say cell phones are causing this for sure, but it is possible, “I haven’t seen the younger generation yet with this issue but we will know over the next 5 to 10 years or so,” she said.
It really may depend on where you live and what you’re exposed to at work but it can be hard to say just exactly what the cell phone has been doing to us. “For a while there was a lot of concern for high power lines causing cancer and really who knows how much electronic fields we are exposed to and how much it’s affecting us.”
Other doctors we surveyed said they were unsure about whether the study results are valid. One said the mere notion that cell phone causes amyloid plaques is ‘ridiculous and false.’ Another neurologist, from Dallas, said “it’s very difficult to isolate cell phone usage to due to its prevalence….for example, sedentary cell phone users are more likely to get type-two diabetes, a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”
Cell phone technology has changed so much so it adds another layer of complexity to all this. Sandroni says we also need to consider the “effects of Bluetooth” and holding the phone up to our head.
Other studies in prior years have shown the opposite impact of technology. In a South Florida study in 2010, researchers simulated cell phone use with electronicmagnetic radiation on mice prone to an animal form of the disease and found “disease-reversing effects” from long-term exposure.
Regardless, studies need to be validated and perhaps put in broader context: “We have lost the art of conversation,” says Sandroni, “and I’m concerned that we’re losing certain skills that are acquired before we would text.”
The first signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease consist of memory loss, difficulty planning and solving problems, misplacing items often, and difficulty making decisions.
-Report by Erin O’Donnell