Scientists find link between looking at digital phone screens and premature aging: report
A new study is shedding light on the impact of cell phone screens and how blue lights could have aging effects on mobile users.
According to The Daily Beast, researchers at Oregon State University recently conducted a study where they determined that "blue light from digital LED screens accelerated the aging process in fruit flies."
On Wednesday, August 31, the study was published by Frontiers in Aging and reportedly suggested: "that the light altered levels of metabolites—a chemical used to keep cells working correctly—in the insects."
In a statement to The Beast, Jadwiga Giebultowicz, an OSU integrative biologist who also co-authored the study, offered more details on how the blue light could be aging users too quickly.
“LEDs have become the main illumination in display screens such as phones, desktops, and TVs, as well as ambient lighting, so humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most of their waking hours,” Giebultowicz said.
She added, “The signaling chemicals in the cells of flies and humans are the same, so there is potential for negative effects of blue light on humans.”
The report also broke down the significance of fruit flies where the blue light and how it increases the presence of a chemical technically known as metabolite succinate.
"In fruit flies, the blue light appears to specifically spike a chemical called metabolite succinate, which helps produce energy (known as ATP) for cells to grow and function normally," the news outlet reported. "It also lowered levels of a molecule known as glutamate, which allow neurons to effectively communicate with one another."
Jun Yang, also a OSU integrative biologist who served as lead author of the study, also weighed in on the exposure to blue light.
“ATP is known to be reduced in the normal aging process and here we see that it’s reduced in young flies exposed to blue light,” Yang said. “Secondly, brain neurodegeneration, characteristic of old age, is also observed in flies exposed to blue light. Together, these data suggest that blue light accelerates aging processes.”
“Humans are exposed to less intense light, so cellular damage may be less dramatic,” Yang explained. “Research on cultured human cells will be required to establish whether blue light exposure causes similar changes in metabolites.”
So, what is recommended to reduce the possibility of aging? Yang also weighed in. “It is difficult to develop recommendations for a healthy amount of screen time without research on human cells,” Yang said. “However, our data suggest that reducing blue light emitted from screens is more important than limiting screen time.”
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