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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 49-50

Evolution of electronic gadgets and emergence of high-tech diseases

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu 603108, India

Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Kalaivani Annadurai
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, District Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu 603108
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2226-8561.166370

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How to cite this article:
Annadurai K, Mani G, Danasekaran R. Evolution of electronic gadgets and emergence of high-tech diseases. Digit Med 2015;1:49-50

How to cite this URL:
Annadurai K, Mani G, Danasekaran R. Evolution of electronic gadgets and emergence of high-tech diseases. Digit Med [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Mar 24];1:49-50. Available from: http://www.digitmedicine.com/text.asp?2015/1/1/49/166370

Dear Editor,

Twenty-first century is an era of electronics and every now and then, newer electronic devices are introduced into the market. The relative time spent on computers and other gadgets has increased rapidly over the years. Widespread use of electronic gadgets and heavy dependence, combined with life style changes, have given rise to a number of new health problems ranging from physical to psychological disorders.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) results from prolonged use of computers. Prevalence of CVS ranges from 64% to 90% among computer users. It is defined as a complex of vision problems related to the activities that stress the near vision and which are experienced in relation, or during the use of the computer. The common ocular manifestations are eye strain, dryness, irritation, burning sensation, redness, blurred vision, and double vision.[1],[2]

Musculoskeletal disorders are common among those using gadgets. Those may be due to bad posture, improper technique, or overuse. It has been reported that there is a significant association between the number of hours of work on computers and overall musculoskeletal disorders.[3]

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a chronic condition that may develop as a result of prolonged repetitive, forceful, or awkward hand movements producing damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand, which can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or impairment of motor control. This results in reduced worker productivity, sickness absenteeism, inability to perform job tasks, and an increase in workers' compensation costs. There are different forms of RSI that are widely seen among gadget users like complaints of arm, neck, and shoulder (CANS), cellphone thumb, WhatsAppitis, acute Wiiitis, etc.

Defined as "musculoskeletal complaints of arm, neck and/or shoulder not caused by acute trauma or by any systemic disease", CANS has increased rapidly among computer users. The pain mainly results from improper posture or technique in handling computers. One of the most common causes is using computer and desk setups that are not ergonomically sound.[4]

The thumb is considered to be least dexterous of all the fingers and is not suited for the repetitive movements required to type on a mobile keypad. Any device that relies on the thumbs for repetitive activities like typing can cause injury. WhatsAppitis, a new disorder with the name coined by Guerrero, was first reported in a 34-year-old pregnant woman presented with bilateral wrist pain. It resulted from an overuse of the mobile text messaging, for more than 6 h, exerting "continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages''. The woman was diagnosed with "WhatsAppitis", which involves bilateral extensor pollicis longus tendinitis of the thumb or injuries relating to overuse of the popular social messaging application.[5]

"Cellphone thumb'', also a form of RSI, was reported in 2009 among teenagers who used mobile phone texting for longer duration.[6] Acute Wiiitis was described in 2007 and named after Nintendo Wii tennis video game, characterized by intense pain in the right shoulder. Acute Wiiitis affects infraspinatus muscle. It was reported in a 24-year-old male who had a history of playing several hours of tennis video game. In this game, the player made the same arm movements as in a real game of tennis but facing a video screen.[7]

To reduce and to prevent this new epidemic, those who are often engaged with gadgets should adopt ergonomic measures like good posture, use ergonomically fit furniture, move for ergonomic friendly innovative gadget designs, restrict time for recreational activities that involve gadgets and do stretch exercises to reduce strain and discomfort without affecting productivity. Moreover, they should take adequate break whenever possible. National Eye Institute has recommended that computer users follow "the 20-20-20 rule,'' which implies that after continuous working on a device for 20 min, taking a break for 20 s by looking at a distant object 20 feet away. And also, frequent blinking of eyes will reduce dryness and further strain to eyes.[8]

Though everyone benefits from modern gadgets¸ simultaneously the risk associated with the exposure for human beings needs to be evaluated by taking long-term studies. Physicians should get themselves updated of these new disorders. Younger generation need to be educated adequately about the ergonomic practices and health safety of gadget usage.

  References Top

American Optometric Association. Computer vision syndrome, 2014. Available from: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 29].  Back to cited text no. 1
Hayes JR, Sheedy JE, Stelmack JA, Heaney CA. Computer use, symptoms, and quality of life. Optom Vis Sci 2007;84:738-44.  Back to cited text no. 2
Jacobs K, Baker NA. The association between children's computer use and musculoskeletal discomfort. Work 2002;18:221-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Huisstede BM, Miedema HS, Verhagen AP, Koes BW, Verhaar JA. Multidisciplinary consensus on the terminology and classification of complaints of the arm, neck and/or shoulder. Occup Environ Med 2007;64:313-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Fernandez-Guerrero IM."WhatsAppitis". Lancet 2014;383:1040.  Back to cited text no. 5
Karim SA. From 'playstation thumb' to 'cellphone thumb': The new epidemic in teenagers. S Afr Med J 2009;99:161-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
Bonis J. Acute wiitis. N Engl J Med2007;356:2431-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
U.S. Department of Health and Human services. National Institute of Health. National Eye Institute. Available from: http://www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyestoolkit/pdf/HVM10_EBulletin.pdf. [Last accessed on 2014 Jun 04].  Back to cited text no. 8


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