Smartphones linked to bizarre horn-like skull bumps

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(NBC News) – A bizarre finding by researchers that sounds like something out of a science fiction plot — people growing horn-like structures on their skulls due to smartphone use — may in fact have a simple explanation: bone spurs.

The study, which was published last year in the journal Scientific Reports, indeed found bony growths on the bases on skulls of around 400 adults, ages 18 to 86. And younger people were found to have larger growths.

The researchers referred to these growths as a “prominent exostosis … emanating from the external occipital proturbance.” Or, in layman’s terms, a bone spur, located at the base of the skull.

Bone spurs — small bony growths that can form on the edges of bones — occur when inflammation damages the cartilage that cushions joints, and the body tries to repair the damage by growing more bone. They often form from repetitive motions. One type of repetitive motion is tilting the head forward, perhaps to look at a smartphone.

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