Style & ShowbizHealth

Screen-switchers beware

HealthBy Sunday World
Screen-switchers beware

We've been told using gadgets in bed is no good, as the artificial light disturbs sleep. But now it seems that scrolling though your smartphone, tablet or even laptop while relaxing in front of the TV is also a no-no.

New research suggests that flicking between the different screens rereleases a hormone that can have the same effect on thought process as being high on drugs. It also trains the brain to be disorganised.

When you are fully focused on a task, information is stored in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. This then makes it easy to recall this data when you next need it; almost like finding the file you need in your brain library. However, when your eyes flick between gadgets, the information is absorbed somewhere else; the striatum. The striatum helps coordinate body's movements with motivation, so info deposited here is harder to recall. Sending data there on a regular basis will eventually rewire the brain, and make it store facts in the wrong place.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in a joint venture with marketing agency HeyHuman, also found that screen switchers produce the chemical L-dopa, which produces the hormone dopamine.

Increased levels of dopamine are often seen in drug users, with the latest study outlining how flicking your eyes between gadgets and the TV can be "worse than being stoned" on cannabis.

"Use of technology in our everyday lives is damaging the brain, causing it to rewire itself and lowering our IQ as a result," the research said.

"Our brains could, thanks to our reliance and overuse of technology, be heading for the scrap heap."

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