Cell phone bone?
A researcher in Australia thinks the way we hold our heads while looking at smartphones is causing bony spikes to grow at the base of some individuals’ skulls. David Shahar, a health researcher affiliated with the University of the Sunshine Coast, recently told the BBC he believes the phenomenon, known as an external occipital protuberance, results from people—particularly those 18-30 years old—holding their heads at unnatural angles to look at smartphones. “I have been a clinician for 20 years, and only in the last decade, increasingly, I have been discovering that my patients have this growth on the skull,” he said.
In a 2016 study appearing in the Journal of Anatomy, Shahar and another researcher found the skull spikes in 41 percent of the 218 young adults they studied. One man’s growth was 1.4 inches long. Shahar said the bone growths, possibly a response to strain from the neck muscles, rarely cause medical problems. —J.B.