Spending too much time scrolling your phone can directly affect your lifespan, scientists have said.
Most of us get a little too much screen time, and it’s not the first time research has warned of potential harm.
Shocking polls suggest the average adult spends 34 years of their life staring at screens.
The latest study examined how light exposure to the eyes contributes to how long someone lives.
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging studied fruit flies — an insect often used by scientists because it’s believed to have similar biological processes to humans.
It came as a “surprise” to the researchers that the eye can “directly regulate” lifespan, said lead author Dr. brian hodge
The connection lies in circadian rhythms – the body’s 24-hour clock.
Circadian rhythms regulate bodily functions throughout the day, adapting to light and temperature as the sun rises and sets.
Depending on the daylight, circadian rhythms control hormones to make us sleepy, hungry, or awake.
These rhythms can be influenced by our behavior, e.g. B. nocturnal exposure to light from television or shift work, are disturbed.
Researchers found that too much light exposure to the eyes can disrupt circadian rhythms – leading to health problems.
Lead author Professor Pankaj Kapahi said: “Staring at computer and phone screens and being exposed to light pollution late into the night are conditions that are very disruptive to circadian clocks.
“It messes with the eye’s protection and that could have consequences that go beyond vision and damage the rest of the body and the brain.”
The research group previously found that restricting a fruit fly’s diet caused significant changes in its circadian rhythm and increased its lifespan.
Wanting to find out why, they looked at which genes work like a clock and found several.
Not only were they most activated during dietary restrictions, but they all seemed to get out of sight.
Specifically, from photoreceptors, the specialized neurons in the retina of the eye that respond to light.
They then looked at whether the genes in the eye affect lifespan and found that they did.
Prof. Kapahi suggested that light itself can cause photoreceptor degeneration, which can cause inflammation.
He said “dysfunction of the eye can actually cause problems in other tissues.”
Over long periods of time, it could exacerbate a variety of common chronic diseases.
This was proved by an experiment where flies were kept in constant darkness where flies lived longer.
Prof. Kapahi said: “We always look at the eye as something that serves us to provide vision.
“We don’t see it as something that needs to be protected to protect the whole organism.”
Whether these results apply directly to humans is not known, but Dr. Hodge suggested that the circadian rhythm is key to aging.
He added that humans could potentially help maintain vision by activating the clocks in our eyes.
“It could be through diet, medication, lifestyle changes… Lots of really interesting research ahead,” he said.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/5523823/spending-too-much-time-phone-impact-lifespan/ Spending too much time on the phone could have a direct impact on life expectancy, scientists say