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About That ‘Cell Phones Give You Horns’ Study: Brainstorm Health

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Good afternoon, readers.

One day, I’m going to have do an empirical study on the correlation between eye-catching public health stories and the time of year (I have a strange suspicion that they tend to spike round the summer time). The latest: A claim by Australian scientists that frequent use of cell phones, tablets, and our various other black mirrors are literally changing our skeletons – and may even lead to something akin to “horns” in adolescents.

But let’s dig a bit deeper before we start slapping the “horn” warnings on iPhones. For one thing, this research is actually a year old but has caught new wind. For another, it’s an observational study that relied on existing X-ray imaging to reach its conclusions, rather than a randomized, long-term clinical trial.

Basically, the researchers noticed a higher frequency of bone spurs (the aforementioned “horns”) in the head and neck regions of younger people’s X-rays (and these are all from Queensland, Australia). It’s not entirely clear just how concerning those spurs may be

That’s not to say that new technologies and working habits don’t have real effects on our bodies – just ask the millions of working Americans with lower back pain, a trend that’s spiked in an increasingly sedentary work culture. Just don’t worry too much about sprouting horns anytime soon.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

A fascinating look into the world of VR. I strongly urge all of your to read my colleague Aric Jenkins’ fascinating, and deeply reported, look into the world of virtual reality (a field that carries significance for both leisure and business alike, including very real implications for health care). Aric explores the rise, fall, and rise again of VR, and the challenges that remain for a technology that’s finally matured. (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

Trump to reportedly issue health pricing transparency order. President Donald Trump will reportedly issue an executive order next week aimed at boosting transparency in the health care sector, including among health insurers and doctors. The most important part of the order will be its approach to just what must be revealed – as readers know, list prices rarely tell you much about what customers may eventually pay in health care, so a requirement to divulge negotiated discounts on health services could prove more valuable than a simple list price revelation. (Reuters)

THE BIG PICTURE

Kaiser launches studies to see how physicians can curb firearm injuries. Nonprofit health giant Kaiser Permanente announced Thursday that it’s funding three separate studies to examine how doctors and medical professionals can help curb gun violence. “We know that firearm injury is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and we can leverage our research capabilities combined with our deep clinical experience to help tackle this issue,” said Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson in a statement. The studies will examine everything from web-based tools to teach patients at high risk for suicide about safe gun storage to suicide prevention training for health workers.

REQUIRED READING

What’s Next in Blockchain? Ask This Teenage Engineerby Natallie Rocha

Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray: Why We’re Introducing Social-Emotional Learning in New York City Schoolsby Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray

Ripple CEO: Facebook Libra Cryptocurrency Push Makes Me Happyby Jonathan Vanian

Tech’s 4 Biggest Cash Burners Have Torn Through $23.9 Billion Combinedby Shawn Tully

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
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