Legend says that if a human grows some horns, he or she is most likely under the spell of mythical creatures like unicorns, devils, and jackalopes. Although the presence of these creatures remained a mystery, records show that there are cases of humans growing horns at the top of their heads.
One rare occasion happened in 2015, where an 87-year old Liang Xiuzhen from Sichuan China went to a doctor to seek medical help, as she suspected to develop horns on top of her head. It started as a mole, which eventually cracked open and exposed a horn growing out of it, based on the patient’s testimony. The doctors determined the horn to be “cutaneous,” a horn-like lump that has the same substance with that of keratin in our fingernails.
Although most cases are harmless, Liang was not the only person who developed such growth on her head. Some older people in China made headlines for the same reason.
Experts believe that this kind of phenomenon happens typically in older people, mostly because it takes years to develop. However, this claim is sunken by a recent study that shows how younger generations seem to be growing the same horns in the back of their skulls.
The presence of these “horn-like” skull growths was observed by two Australian researchers who carefully examined hundreds of X-rays of younger people aged between 18 and 30. The pair found out that almost half had developed bone growths, due to the prolonged use of technology such as smartphones and tablets.
The study poses a severe threat to younger people’s health and reveals how technology can alter the form of one’s body. This medical condition occurs when a person spends most of his or her time on mobile devices, particularly daily.
The news has now gained attention because this kind of outgrowths typically occurs in hunched-over elderly ones who practiced improper posture and carried heavy loads on their bones. The fact that this also happens to the younger generation is a manifestation of too much reliance on gadgets, which can create damage to one’s body structure.
According to a study conducted by King University in 2017, technological dependency or commonly termed as “excessive use of gadgets,” is a recent issue that grows in relevance, as the massive number of individuals utilizes mobile technology. This assertion is supported by Dr. Russel Belk’s Extended Self Theory, which suggests that personal possessions like smartphones, among others, have played an essential role in how people operate daily. It further explains that they became an extension of the self, so once separated from these devices; it can lead to anxiety, irritability, and even psychological disorder.
Dr. David Shahar and Associate Professor Mark Sayers from the University of the Sunshine Coast published the study last year, which cited the danger posed by excessive use of mobile gadgets at home, especially by younger people. Both researchers examined 218 X-rays images of people aged between 18 and 30 with 41 percent had developed a “horn-like” bony bump at the back of their heads with a size ranging from 10 millimeters to 30.
The findings ruled out the idea that this condition typically takes years to form and is most likely to be experienced by the aging population. Moreover, bone spurs are shorter, but what researchers found was longer in terms of measurement — meaning that the impact of poor posture, especially in young individuals, is evident nowadays due to extended phone and gadget use.
A poll made by Common Sense Media regarding mobile device usage shows that 50% of most teens are addicted to their mobile devices. Data by Flurry Mobile revealed that in the United States alone, the average consumer spends five hours a day on their smartphones.
This implication supports the hypothesis of Dr. Shahar that the heavy load on the muscle attachment is due to the weight of the head shifting forward because of the extended hours spent on mobile devices. By turning the head forward, it can transfer the head’s weight from the bones of the spine to the muscles at the back of the head and neck.
As the study reaches various media channels, Dr. Sayers and Shahar hope that the findings will be of significant help to parents who play a substantial role in disciplining their children.
Although researchers assured that the bump is not mainly the problem, it is only a sign of sustained terrible posture, which can be corrected upon and properly instigated. The pair will continue to examine the phenomenon further and plan to make means to help avoid the growths, especially in school kids.
Update 06/24/2019: Z6Mag published a new story that debunks the claim of growing horn-like skull. Click to read the full story.