The smartphone and other electronic devices have practically become the fifth human limb, a technological extension of the body through which we can work, chat, flirt, access entertainment and information options, play video games or connect with family and friends. .
But besides the nomophobia —irrational fear of not having a cell phone or being cut off from the Internet—, another danger hovers over the excessive use of the smartphone: the blue light exposurelinked in several scientific investigations with the obesity, the blindness, difficulty sleeping and various psychological problems.
Now, new evidence is emerging that points to the downside of living glued to the glare of a screen: blue light could prematurely speed up the aging process, according to a study carried out on fruit flies. This type of brightness could affect basic cellular functions, collects the report published in Frontiers in Aging.
Thus, everyday devices, such as televisions, laptops and smartphones, “can have detrimental effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells to sensory neurons”, explains Jadwiga Giebultowicz, professor at the Department of Integrative Biology from Oregon State University and lead author.
This is the first research that indicates that specific metabolite levelschemical substances that guarantee the proper functioning of cells, are altered in fruit flies exposed to blue light.
After comparing for two weeks the metabolites of fruit flies exposed and not exposed to blue light, they found that those insects subjected to the luminosity of digital devices activated protective genes against stresswhile those kept in constant darkness lived longer.
Among the significant differences in the levels of metabolites measured in the cells of the heads of the flies, it was remarkable that succinate levels increased, but glutamate levels decreased.
“The high levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be compared to gasoline that is at the pump, but does not get into the car,” explains the lead author. In the case of glutamate, responsible for communication between cells, it remained at its lowest level after exposure to blue light.
When registering the changes, the main conclusion is that blue light accelerates aging, causing the cells to operate at a suboptimal level and therefore may cause their premature death.
“The signaling chemicals in fly and human cells are the same, so there is a potential for negative effects of blue light on humans,” the research notes. The next step will be to directly examine the effects of this exposure on human cells.
The blue light to which people are exposed is less intense than that in this experiment, which, according to the researchers, could imply a less dramatic cell damage.
In any case, bet on spending less time with your mobile and not getting hooked on scroll eternal before sleeping. “Our study suggests that avoiding excessive exposure to blue light may be a good anti-aging strategy,” Giebultowicz concludes.