Thanks to the show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” you may be familiar with human horns, known as cutaneous horns, in which a horn-like growth sprouts from a person’s head.
Now there’s a new human horn making headlines — and you might be at risk for developing one.
Researchers in Australia say adults between the ages of 18 and 30 are developing horns at the base of their skulls, the Washington Post reported.
The culprit? Smart phones, researchers David Shahar and Mark Sayers say.
The two University of the Sunshine Coast researchers believe prolonged use of hand-held devices could be responsible for the poor posture that produces the horn, according to their study.
The horn is a type of bone spur most commonly seen in elderly people who hunch due to “long-term poor posture and significant stress loads on their bones,” News.com.au reported.
The spurs are “caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head,” the Washington Post reported. The change in weight causes pressure which sparks bone growth, a process similar to the way skin calluses, according to the newspaper.
Shahar and Sayers wonder what this means for young adults.
“An important question is what the future holds for the young adult populations in our study, when development of a degenerative process is evident in such an early stage of their lives?” they wrote.
Sayers says the horn is not dangerous, but that it is “portent of something nasty going on elsewhere, a sign that the head and neck are not in the proper configuration,” according to the Washington Post.
Shahar and Sayers looked at 1,200 X-rays from Australians between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41 percent had the bone spur, Science Alert reported. The spurs are considered large, measuring between 10 and 30 millimeters, according to the study.