'Rare phenomenon forming horns on young Australians' skulls'
Australian researchers believe a rare phenomenon is occurring in younger generations where excessive mobile phone use appears to be creating horn-like bone spurs at the back of the head.
Dr David Shahar, a University of the Sunshine Coast musculoskeletal researcher who co-wrote a study into the phenomenon, told Today he has noticed an increase in the numbers of people with the bone formations over the last 10 years.
“Interestingly, these type of formations were reported on first in 1875,” he said.
“Now that we see them… growing massively it’s quite surprising, particularly finding them in the young generation when large bone spurs don’t normally form before the age of 40 according to the literature.”
Dr Shahar said he believes younger people are forming the additional bone matter because they are spending long periods of time with their head tilted forward, looking at mobile phones.
“The head doesn’t have to be necessarily just tilted, it can be forward or extended, either way when the weight of the head shifts forward, the weight of the head shifts off the bones onto the muscles, he said.
“Therefore, there is extra stress on the insertion of the muscles on the skull and therefore the adaptation process is occurring where bone deposition is enhanced.
“The footprint of that insertion into the bone increases to spread the load on a greater surface area and a result of that, we see those bone formations there.”
The study conducted by Dr Sharhar and his colleague, associate professor Mark Sayers, examined the x-rays of 218 Australians aged between 18 and 30 and found that 41 per cent had grown the bone-based lumps ranging in size from 10 to 30 millimetres.
Further testing involving MRI scans and blood examinations also ruled out that the growths found in the x-rays developed as a result of a person’s genes or inflammation of that area of the head.
“It is important to understand that, in most cases, bone spurs measure a few single millimetres and yet we found projections of 10 to 30 millimetres in the studied young population,” Dr Sharhar said in a statement.
Despite the findings, Mr Sayers said that the formations appeared to have occurred from an easily-solvable problem.
“The thing is that the bump is not the problem, the bump is a sign of sustained terrible posture, which can be corrected quite simply,” he said in a statement.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019