The Light from Your Phone Breaks Your Internal Clock

This is how the light from your phone breaks your internal clock

It’s not just sleep: circadian rhythms influence your metabolism, circulation and psychology, too

Original source article

On December 30th, 1882, at twenty minutes past eight, the first electric streetlights were turned on in Los Angeles. The few lamps, placed in the center of town, cast a gentle glow that was compared to “the full moon on snow”. About a hundred years later, when an earthquake knocked out power to the city, a nearby observatory fielded calls from confused Angelenos asking about a strange cloud now visible in the night sky. The observatory told them not to worry–they were just, for the first time, able to see the Milky Way.

Nope, no Milky Way hereMUHD ASYRAAF

Now, over a century after we lit the first electric streetlights, much of the world lives under light-polluted skies. Over 80%of the globe is covered in light pollution and one third of humanity is unable to see the Milky Way. While our ancestors had no choice but to live in sync with the natural cycle of light and dark, thanks to artificial light, modern life is a bit more chaotic. Many of us are active at night, sedentary during the day, and lie in bed bathed in the comforting, blue-hued glow of our smartphones.

While many of us consider all that to be relatively harmless, there’s a growing body of research showing that the consequences of messing up the internal clocks of nearly all of humanity might be more serious than we think. Irregular circadian rhythms have been linked to nearly every health problem under the sun: from heart attacks to cancer and diabetes to depression. So, should we turn off all the streetlights and throw our smartphones into the sea? And how could something as simple as light be so harmful, anyway?

The problem with light at night has to do with how the mammalian internal clock works. If you took a person and plunged them into total darkness, they would keep going to sleep and waking up at about the same time each day. But, the internal clock is imprecise. Over time, that person would drift out of sync with the objective timing of night and day. The major signal that sets the internal clock to the correct time is light.

More specifically, there are certain rare types of cells within the eye that sense light but, unlike rods and cones, have nothing to do with sight. Instead, they transfer the message that it is day directly to the brain’s central clock. These cells respond most strongly to blue light, which is why some computer screensnow shift to the warmer, red side of the color spectrum after dark. And they don’t need to be exposed to light for a long time to react: a brief pulse of light at night is enough to reset the brain’s central clock.

Red light, blue light, some sleep, no sleepDANIEL JOSEF

Once the central clock is set, it coordinates the timing of other peripheral clocks throughout the body. Although most people know that circadian rhythms control sleep, sleep is just one of many processes that depend on the clock.

Another one of those processes is metabolism. Insulin levels rise and fall according to the time of day, except in diabetics, who have irregular cycles of insulin secretion. And levels of the hormone leptin, which makes people feel full, and ghrelin, which makes people feel hungry, are also controlled by the clock.

We’ve known for a long time that shift workers, especially those who work the graveyard shift, have a higher incidence of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic issues. But it can be difficult to pin down how much of that is due specifically to irregular circadian rhythms. To figure out whether the connection is real, scientists looked at mice with mutations in a gene called Clock.

As you might be able to guess from the name, the gene Clock codes for a protein that’s an important part of the brain’s central clock. So, by disrupting that gene alone, researchers were able to pinpoint what happens when you break the internal clock, apart from all other factors. They found that Clock mutant mice ate at irregular hours, were obese, and had a host of metabolic abnormalities, including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and low insulin.

What’s the connection between the internal clock and metabolism? One clue comes from a study where mice were subjected to conditions mimicking chronic jet lag – that is, the researchers shifted the time when the lights were on backwards or forwards by eight hours every week. The jet lagged mice gained weight and became resistant to leptin, which is one of the hallmarks of obesity in humans because leptin inhibits the feeling of hunger. And in humans, just a few nights of restricted sleep decreases the amount of leptin while increasing the amount of its partner, ghrelin, which promotes hunger. So it may be that a broken internal clock contributes to metabolic problems because it disrupts the hormones that tell us when to eat.

Humans spent hundreds of thousands of years living in time with clear day and night, so circadian rhythms control more than you’d think. Not only do sleep and metabolism depend on the internal clock, but so do blood pressure and heart rate, which contributes to the strange fact that heart attacks and strokes happen much more frequently in the morning. Circadian rhythms affect psychology, too. Shifting sleep-wake cycles earlier seems to make people feel happier, while the opposite contributes to depression. This is seen in studies of travelers who have to be hospitalized for psychiatric conditions after arriving at airports: they’re more likely to experience either depression or maniadepending on whether the time zone change shifted them forward or back. So the next time you’re tempted to check your phone in bed or pull an all-nighter, remember that when it comes to human health, it’s all in the timing.

5G Coming: Will It Kill Us All?

NEW 5G WIFI COMING AND IT WILL KILL US ALL. THIS IS SERIOUS! (And it shouts out a very attention-getting headline, too!)

First, there was 3G, then 4G and now we are heading into the era of 5G, while this is said to be an improvement it is also bringing with it harmful ultra-high microwave frequency radiation.

Are the health risks of implementing the new 5G technology really that alarming?

People who have raised their voices about the dangers that the technology will bring and who have talked about safety have been subjected to intimidation and harassment alongwith attempts to try to silence them.

Serious Health Risks Associated with 5G – Including Cancer

The FCC voted on July 14 to bring 5G to the US to make spectrum bands above 24 GHz available for the 5G technology, despite the fact that with the proliferation of technology for cellphones there are serious health risks.

It looks like the FCC has the attitude of going full speed ahead and not giving a thought to the torpedoes. June 20 saw the chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, praising the rollout of 5G applications along with networks and he called them a game changer and went on to say that it would bring in tens of billions of dollars.

5G Uses Frequencies That Have Not Been Tested

The 5G network is going to use frequency bands that are higher and which had previously not been thought possible, frequencies of 24 to 100GHz, which have not been tested. Of course, the new and untested frequencies are going to need new antennas and these are designed to amplify signals. It means huge deployment of cells phone towers all overthe US.

The first to begin 5G trials in the US will be Verizon and ATT and these started in 2017, with the first deployment commercially to start in 2020. Wheeler said that all regions, including those in rural communities, will be saturated with 5G. This means that no part of the country is going to remain safe from the ultra-high frequency signals.

Reporter Silenced Over Worries About Health

At a press conference on July 14, Todd Shields, a reporter for Bloomberg News, had his press credentials taken from him by the FCC securityforce simply because he was speaking with safety advocates about radiation and he was concerned. He had confronted Wheeler during the conference and told him that his credentials had been taken and while Wheeler said that he could have them back, he did go on to tell Shields that everyone at the conference had to behave responsibly.

This meant that he had to follow orders otherwise he was out. Bear in mind that in the past the government has tested and then said that many things were safe and would not hurt the public.

These have included thalidomide, asbestos, lead paint and smoking, all of these have now been said to be otherwise and far from safe.

Study Revealed Wireless Radiation Can Cause Cancer

The National Toxicology Program conducted a government study to the cost of $25 million and it concluded that wireless radiation cancause cancer. 70% of the non-industry studies have revealed that wireless radiation is harmful, but with industry studies, this percentage is only 32%.

So far there is no getting away from the fact that the dangers are being ignored by the government. Even Verizon and T-Mobile annual financial reports have revealed that the phone companies acknowledge that they are subject to litigation in relation to alleged health effects or radio frequency transmitters and wireless phones.

They have warned that it may result in damages that are significant and they have admitted that wireless technology along with health effects that are adverse do actually exist, and this is said to include cancer being a threat.

Nokia is a defendant in a total of 19 different lawsuits that were filed in Washington D.C. which have alleged that radio emissions coming from cell phones have been the cause of brain tumors.

A Question For All Of Us

Should the health of people in the US and the rest of the world be risked solely to advance in mobile technology that ensures that people can get an even better cell phone signal wherever they are?

Teen Depression Signs Point To Smartphones

The number of teens who are depressed is soaring — and all signs point to smartphones

teen phone charging sad Time spent on social media was linked to mental health decline. Strelka Institute/Flickr

  • The number of American teens with depressed thoughts has been increasing since 2012.
  • Looking at the data, it’s possible to rule out some factors that might be causing it, like economic inequality and academic pressure.
  • Jean Twenge, author of “iGen,” believes all signs point to increased smartphone use as the likely cause.
  • Twenge says it’s not necessarily the screen time but the time that’s lost to smartphones that could be spent on more meaningful activities, like face-to-face interaction.

Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country.

All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.

What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide?

After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.

Because the years between 2010 and 2015 were a period of steady economic growth and falling unemployment, it’s unlikely that economic malaise was a factor. Income inequality was (and still is) an issue, but it didn’t suddenly appear in the early 2010s: This gap between the rich and poor had been widening for decades.

We found that the time teens spent on homework barely budged between 2010 and 2015, effectively ruling out academic pressure as a cause.

However, according to the Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 – right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smartphone.

cell phone Teens spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Nam Y. Huh/AP

Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets.

We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online.

Of course, it’s possible that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online. But three other studies show that is unlikely (at least, when viewed through social media use).

Two followed people over time, with both studies finding that spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. A third randomly assigned participants to give up Facebook for a week versus continuing their usual use. Those who avoided Facebook reported feeling less depressed at the end of the week.

The argument that depression might cause people to spend more time online doesn’t also explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012.

Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones, which doesn’t seem too logical.

Even if online time doesn’t directly harm mental health, it could still adversely affect it in indirect ways, especially if time online crowds out time for other activities.

For example, while conducting research for my book on iGen, I found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person.

Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide.

We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online).

Teens are also sleeping less, and teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to not be getting enough sleep. Not sleeping enough is a major risk factor for depression, so if smartphones are causing less sleep, that alone could explain why depression and suicide increased so suddenly.

Depression and suicide have many causes.

Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma can all play a role.

Some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in.

But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental health issues may have slipped into depression due to too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three.

It might be argued that it’s too soon to recommend less screen time, given that the research isn’t completely definitive. However, the downside to limiting screen time – say, to two hours a day or less – is minimal. In contrast, the downside to doing nothing – given the possible consequences of depression and suicide – seems, to me, quite high.

It’s not too early to think about limiting screen time; let’s hope it’s not too late.

For full references and the rest of this article please use the source link below.

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Cell Phones and Cancer Risk (via National Cancer Institute)

A fact sheet that outlines the available evidence regarding use of cellular/mobile telephones and cancer risk.

There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cell phones (also known as “mobile” or “wireless” telephones) might have the potential to cause certain types of cancer or other health problems:

  • Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Tissues nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy.
  • The number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. As of December 2014, there were more than 327.5 million cell phone subscribers in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is a nearly threefold increase from the 110 million users in 2000. Globally, the number of subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union to be 5 billion.
  • Over time, the number of cell phone calls per day, the length of each call, and the amount of time people use cell phones have increased. However, improvements in cell phone technology have resulted in devices that have lower power outputs than earlier models.
What is radiofrequency energy and how does it affect the body?

Radiofrequency energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation can be categorized into two types: ionizing (e.g., x-rays, radon, and cosmic rays) and non-ionizing (e.g., radiofrequency and extremely low frequency, or power frequency). Electromagnetic radiation is defined according to its wavelength and frequency, which is the number of cycles of a wave that pass a reference point per second. Electromagnetic frequencies are described in units called hertz (Hz).

The energy of electromagnetic radiation is determined by its frequency; ionizing radiationis high frequency, and therefore high energy, whereas non-ionizing radiation is low frequency, and therefore low energy. The NCI fact sheet Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer lists sources of radiofrequency energy. More information about ionizing radiation can be found on the Radiation page.

The frequency of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation ranges from 30 kilohertz (30 kHz, or 30,000 Hz) to 300 gigahertz (300 GHz, or 300 billion Hz).  Electromagnetic fields in the radiofrequency range are used for telecommunications applications, including cell phones, televisions, and radio transmissions. The human body absorbs energy from devices that emit radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. The dose of the absorbed energy is estimated using a measure called the specific absorption rate (SAR), which is expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight.

Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from x-rays, is known to increase the risk of cancer. However, although many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from radar, microwave ovens, cell phones, and other sources, there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk (1).

The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency energy is heating. The ability of microwave ovens to heat food is one example of this effect of radiofrequency energy. Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating to the area of the body where a cell phone or other device is held (ear, head, etc.). However, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature, and there are no other clearly established effects on the body from radiofrequency energy.

It has been suggested that radiofrequency energy might affect glucose metabolism, but two small studies that examined brain glucose metabolism after use of a cell phone showed inconsistent results. Whereas one study showed increased glucose metabolism in the region of the brain close to the antenna compared with tissues on the opposite side of the brain (2), the other study (3) found reduced glucose metabolism on the side of the brain where the phone was used.

Another study investigated whether exposure to the radiofrequency energy from cell phones affects the flow of blood in the brain and found no evidence of such an effect (4).

The authors of these studies noted that the results are preliminary and that possible health outcomes from changes in glucose metabolism are still unknown. Such inconsistent findings are not uncommon in experimental studies of the biological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (5). Some contributing factors include assumptions used to estimate doses, failure to consider temperature effects, and lack of blinding of investigators to exposure status.

How is radiofrequency energy exposure measured in epidemiologic studies?

Epidemiologic studies use information from several sources, including questionnaires and data from cell phone service providers. Direct measurements are not yet possible outside of a laboratory setting. Estimates take into account the following:

  • How “regularly” study participants use cell phones (the number of calls per week or month)
  • The age and the year when study participants first used a cell phone and the age and the year of last use (allows calculation of the duration of use and time since the start of use)
  • The average number of cell phone calls per day, week, or month (frequency)
  • The average length of a typical cell phone call
  • The total hours of lifetime use, calculated from the length of typical call times, the frequency of use, and the duration of use
What has research shown about the possible cancer-causing effects of radiofrequency energy?

Radiofrequency energy, unlike ionizing radiation, does not cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Its only consistently observed biological effect in humans is tissue heating. In animal studies, it has not been found to cause cancer or to enhance the cancer-causing effects of known chemical carcinogens (68). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is carrying out a large-scale study in rodents of exposure to radiofrequency energy (the type used in cell phones). This investigation is being conducted in highly specialized labs that can specify and control sources of radiation and measure their effects. Preliminary results from this study were released in May 2016.

Researchers have carried out several types of epidemiologic studies to investigate the possibility of a relationship between cell phone use and the risk of malignant (cancerous) brain tumors, such as gliomas, as well as benign (noncancerous) tumors, such as acousticneuromas (tumors in the cells of the nerve responsible for hearing), most meningiomas(tumors in the meninges, membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord), and parotid gland tumors (tumors in the salivary glands) (9).

In one type of study, called a case-control study, cell phone use is compared between people with these types of tumors and people without them. In another type of study, called a cohort study, a large group of people who do not have cancer at study entry is followed over time and the rate of these tumors in people who did and didn’t use cell phones is compared. Cancer incidence data can also be analyzed over time to see if the rates of cancer changed in large populations during the time that cell phone use increased dramatically. These studies have not shown clear evidence of a relationship between cell phone use and cancer. However, researchers have reported some statistically significantassociations for certain subgroups of people.

Three large epidemiologic studies have examined the possible association between cell phone use and cancer: Interphone, a case-control study; the Danish Study, a cohort study; and the Million Women Study, another cohort study.

  • InterphoneHow the study was done: This is the largest health-related case-control study of cell phone use and the risk of head and neck tumors. It was conducted by a consortium of researchers from 13 countries. The data came from questionnaires that were completed by study participants.

    What the study showed: Most published analyses from this study have shown no statistically significant increases in brain or central nervous system cancers related to higher amounts of cell phone use. One analysis showed a statistically significant, although modest, increase in the risk of glioma among the small proportion of study participants who spent the most total time on cell phone calls. However, the researchers considered this finding inconclusive because they felt that the amount of use reported by some respondents was unlikely and because the participants who reported lower levels of use appeared to have a slightly reduced risk of brain cancer compared with people who did not use cell phones regularly (5,10,11). Another recent analysis from this study found no relationship between brain tumor locations and regions of the brain that were exposed to the highest level of radiofrequency energy from cell phones (12).

Source: National Cancer Institute