DEC 06, 2019 10:31 AM PST

Cell Phone Use Related Injuries on the Rise

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Are you reading this on your cell phone? Check your posture and your surroundings! A study published yesterday in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery reports that the number of head and neck injuries related to cell phone use has increased, based on data from 1998 to 2017. According to the study, the 2007 release of the Apple iPhone was associated with a steep increase in reported injuries. 

Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School led this study. The Associated Press reports that his ample experience treating patients with cell phone-related injuries—including a woman who broke her nose dropping her phone on her face—inspired Dr. Paskhover to investigate this problem.

The data used in this study was from a national database of individuals who visited an emergency department with head and neck injuries related to cell phone use. About 2,500 patient reports were utilized, which scales up to an estimate of 76,000 people injured during the study period. An estimated 14,150 people reported being distracted; 7,420 were driving; 1,022 were texting, and 5,080 were walking and using a cell phone.

The most common sites of injuries of the head and neck included the head, face, eyes, eyelids, nose, and neck. The most common injury, reported by 26% of study participants, was a laceration. Contusion or abrasion accounted for 24% of injuries, while internal organ damage accounted for nearly 18%. Newsweek reports that the internal organ injuries were mostly traumatic brain injuries caused by being hit in the face by a phone or the result of a battery exploding.

Among individuals aged 13 to 29, cell phone use distraction-related injuries occurred at a rate of 60%. Cell phone users younger than 13 are at a significantly higher risk of direct mechanical injury than use-associated injury—82% and nearly 18%. The opposite is true for those aged 50 to 64, where use-associated injuries account for 68% of reported injuries, and 32% are from direct mechanical injury. For those older than 65, use-associated injury jumps to 90%.

Despina Stavrinos, associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, told Newsweek reporters that “most of the injuries in this study occurred at home; however, a smaller yet significant portion occurred in traffic environments.” She continues by stating “distracted walking, bicycling, and driving are common and extremely dangerous activities among youth that increases their risk of injury.”

The research report concludes by suggesting a need for more education to prevent cell phone-related injuries and promote safe cell phone use. As Dr. Paskhover told AP reports, “people wouldn’t walk around reading a magazine…be careful.”

Sources: JAMA, Newsweek, AP
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
MAR 12, 2021
Cardiology
Newly-IDed Atherosclerosis Protein May Be Treatment Target
MAR 12, 2021
Newly-IDed Atherosclerosis Protein May Be Treatment Target
Arteries, which supply the body with oxygen, are normally flexible. But they can become stiff and thick in a condition c ...
MAR 25, 2021
Immunology
The Immune System Impairs Antibiotic Effectiveness
MAR 25, 2021
The Immune System Impairs Antibiotic Effectiveness
Nitric oxide, a molecule produced by the immune system, can negatively impact antibiotics’ effectiveness, says a s ...
MAR 30, 2021
Neuroscience
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
MAR 30, 2021
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
Researchers have found that activity in the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) following exposure to negative ...
APR 04, 2021
Microbiology
A Nanoparticle-Based Universal Flu Vaccine Moves Closer to Use
APR 04, 2021
A Nanoparticle-Based Universal Flu Vaccine Moves Closer to Use
There are many different influenza viruses, which cause from 290,000 to 650,000 deaths every year. That range depends on ...
APR 10, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Users Exercise More than Nonusers
APR 10, 2021
Cannabis Users Exercise More than Nonusers
The rate of cannabis use among American adults tripled between 2003 and 2018 from 4.1% to 15.9%. During this time, some ...
APR 11, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Trial Shows Personalized Cancer Vaccines are Safe
APR 11, 2021
Trial Shows Personalized Cancer Vaccines are Safe
Vaccines are mostly known as tools to prevent illness. But cancer vaccines are a bit different, and aim to treat existin ...
Loading Comments...