Doctors across the country are reporting an increase in injuries due to cellphone use. A recent study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology, found an increase in cellphone injuries starting after 2006, around the time when the first smartphones were introduced. Some injuries were caused by the phones themselves while others were caused by distracted use.
The study, led Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, found that U.S. emergency room treatment for mostly minor injuries, including facial cuts, bruises and fractures, had spiked in recent years. Paskhover, a facial plastic surgeon, and the team analyzed 20 years of emergency room data compiled in a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission database that collects emergency room visit information from about 100 hospitals. The data showed that annual cases of patients with cellphone-related head and neck injuries totaled fewer than 2,000 until 2006, but increased steeply after that.
Cellphone use has been linked with repetitive strain injuries in the hands and neck. Patients also experienced injuries to other parts of the body caused by distracted use. About 40 percent of those injured were ages 13 to 29. Most patients in the study weren’t hospitalized, but according to the researchers, the problem should still be taken seriously.