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Lancet study: Prolonged messaging on your smartphone can cause 'WhatsAppitis'

Too much of instant messaging on smartphones can damage your health, says a doctor in Spain, who has diagnosed the problem as 'WhatsAppitis' and reported its symptoms and treatment in the latest issue of reputed medical journal, The Lancet.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 04, 2014 17:25 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
WhatsAppitis,Lancet study,messaging

Prolonged use of the instant messaging system on your smartphone can damage your health, according to a doctor in Spain who has diagnosed the problem as 'WhatsAppitis'.

Ines M Fernandez-Guerrero has reported its symptoms and treatment in the latest issue of reputed medical journal, The Lancet. The doctor detailed the case of a 34-year-old emergency medicine physician who was pregnant and on duty on 24 December (Christmas eve).

The next day, she responded to messages that had been sent to her on her smartphone via WhatsApp.

The doctor reported: "She held her mobile phone, which weighed 130 g, for at least 6 hours. During this time she made continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages."

"The diagnosis for the bilateral wrist pain was WhatsAppitis. The treatment consisted of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and complete abstinence from using the phone to send messages".

Read: Smartphone touted as 'remote for your life'

Fernandez-Guerrero said the patient had bilateral wrist pain with sudden onset upon waking up one morning.

"She had no history of trauma and had not engaged in any excessive physical activity in the previous days," the doctor said.

The doctor added that that because of her pregnancy, the patient only took acetaminophen (1 g every 8 h for 3 days) with partial improvement, and did not completely abstain from using her phone, with exchange of new messages on Dec 31 (New Year's Eve).

Fernandez-Guerrero wrote that a so-called Nintendinitis ( a video game-related health problem classified as a form of repetitive strain injury) was first described in 1990, and since then several injuries associated with video games and technologies have been reported.

"Initially reported in children, such cases are now seen in adults. Tenosynovitis (a type of tendon injury) caused by texting with mobile phones could well be an emerging disease. Physicians need to be mindful of these new disorders," the study said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2014 15:22 IST