Mobile Phones Dangerous

The smart phone industry has brought many advances in mobile technology but, along with the good, comes the bad. Eye fatigue and repetitive strain injuries are reportedly on the rise, and along with the common-place medical issues, doctors have seen a rise in other, more obtuse diagnoses.

“I’ve heard anecdotal evidence (from other clinics) that neck and shoulder muscle injuries have tripled. We’ve got a serious rise in the number of direct head and limb injuries related to people walking into poles, falling off platforms and hitting overhead obstacles,” says Sue Sapenard, General Practioner in London’s East End, “People just aren’t paying attention to what’s around them. My colleague (Dr. Brett McMahon) also suspects that there is a link to psychoses like paranoia.”

‘Socal-media Overexposure’ or SMO may become a diagnoses, she says, a condition whereby people cannot ‘switch off’ the social portions of their brain, and so are constantly worrying too much about how they appear to others.

“This can lead to over analysing, repetitive thoughts and the like, which then grows to full blown paranoia,” says Dr McMahon, “We can also see that there is a genuine anxiety tha a phone has being hacked, or that it’s taking over one’s life or even that it’s out of date. It’s the same disease, just with a different context.”

Drs Sapenard and McMahon are preparing a report that they hope will highlight the need to ‘downtime’ apps on phones to be made mandatory, and ultrasonic sensors to be built in as standard to warn about impending obstacles.ChesterLogoSmall

Ghost Hunting a Science

Following on from television shows like ‘Ghost Hunters‘ and books like ‘Paranormology‘, the hunt for ghosts and research into the spiritual realm is set to lose its pseudoscience badge in favour of a degree.

Students at the University of Mount Gambier in South Australia can now choose to become official Paranormologists. With the aim to make Paranormology as commonplace as geography or astronomy, the University is trialing the course over the next few years.

“The first few subjects deal with scientific methodology, the importance of thoroughly recording observations and peer review. Once the students have a grounding in the accepted practices, they then move on to equipment, practical training and observation techniques,” says Doctor Sue Rochester, “The word ‘ghost’ doesn’t even appear in any recommended text books until the third year.”

Unproven methodologies such as clairvoyance and seances are not part of the curriculum, says Sue, although they are addressed in the subjects of hoaxes.

“As a scientist working in a field that naturally attracts charlatanism, it’s important to know how to remain objective, how to spot human interference, how to use scientific analysis to rule out trickery.”

The Paranormology course is being piloted with a view for expanding into other fields, such as Cryptozoology and Ufology.