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Skaggs Occupational Medicine Lunch and Learn. 21 st Century Technology Injuries Randall J. Cross, M.D. Computers: labor-saving devices or ticking time bombs for injuries.

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Skaggs Occupational Medicine Lunch and Learn

21st Century Technology Injuries

Randall J. Cross, M.D.


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Computers: labor-saving devices or ticking time bombs for injuries

  • Size matters: ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer) built in 1946, cost $500,000 ($6 million adj for inflation)

  • Contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7200 diodes, 1500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 5 million hand-soldered joints. Weighed 30 tons, took up 680 sq ft,consumed 150 kW of power

  • Filled a room and generated enormous amounts of heat


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Microprocessors injuries

  • Present day microprocessors can perform millions to billions more processes in a fraction of the time and are now small pocket devices

  • Applications of microprocessors are now in everything from children’s toys to greeting cards, to orbiting satellites to most household appliances, picture frames, cellular phones, hearing aids, etc.


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Injuries evolve with new gadgets injuries

  • “The engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how people use new devices. But when you release them to a large population, you run into issues that were never perceived before”, said Dr. Matthew Smuck, asst. prof. of orthopedic surgery at Stanford Spine Center. “That’s what happened with desktop computers, and there’s a whole science behind ergonomics now.”


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Neck and upper back bear the brunt of the problems injuries

  • Laptops: big culprit because people sit with them in their lap

  • Screen is too low to be comfortable

  • Head is held at an awkward angle straining the muscles

  • Smartphones and other handhelds like MP3 players can be worse as they are held even lower and screens are smaller


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Crippling hands and wrists injuries

  • “Blackberries, keyboards, game controllers used excessively, in awkward positions, or with excessive force, contributes to wear and tear on the body”, said the author of “Get Fit For Mobile Working”, Margaret Hanson.

  • Everyone who has typed any time on a keyboard knows all about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • There is a lot of poor posturing and stress on the wrists


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Tech Age Health Tips injuries

  • Limit texting: if your thumbs or wrists hurt, cut back

  • Rest: Take a brief break and move around if your body is uncomfortable

  • Move: Take a break at least once an hour to stand up and walk around

  • Look away: Prevent eye strain by looking up frequently and focusing on something far away

  • Support elbows: Rest on armrest or tuck them into your sides for support with handheld devices

  • Call a doctor: sharp pain, shooting pain or tingling down the arms or hands that persists

  • Get active: You in your 50’s have more pains than your parents in their 80’s (sedentary lifestyle and more computer interfacing with poor posturing and a lot of physical stress)



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Other less obvious problems injuries

  • Hearing at risk: MP3 player earphones, headphones, Bluetooth headsets can generate noise of a jet taking off; 89 dB for an hour a day over 5 years = permanent hearing loss (suggest noise-cancelling headsets)

  • Back and leg problems: poor posture, spinal curvature, shorter and tighter hamstrings from prolonged sitting

  • Diminished sperm counts: laptops heat the testicles 2.8 c and 4 hours of mobile phone use per day can increase risk of sperm damage due to electromagnetic radiation according to SUNY scientists

  • Loss of interaction: computer addiction (Crackberry), poor social skills, poor communication skills, introversion, depression


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Don’t become a victim injuries

  • Lumbago

  • Blackberry Neck

  • “Texting thumb”

  • Eye strain headaches, CVS (computer vision syndrome)

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Psychological disorders: affective disturbances, behavioral problems, psychiatric disorders, somatic complaints, stress-related immunological suppression

  • “Gluteus humongous” (get off your duff and move)


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