Blue light from smartphones (and other electronic devices) could accelerate aging


Blue light from smartphones (and other electronic devices) could accelerate aging
Written by aquitodovale

from Silvia Turin

Basic cellular functions are altered and influenced by the light emitted by everyday devices, such as TVs, PCs and mobile phones

Excessive exposure to blue light of electronic devices of daily use such as PCs, tablets and mobile phones (but also televisions) can have harmful effects on a wide range of cells in our body: from the skin, to fat cells, to sensory neurons.

Acceleration of cellular aging

This is supported by a research just published in the journal Frontiers in Aging
by researchers from Oregon State University (USA) who conducted experiments on fruit flies exposed to light. In previous research, scholars had shown that such lighting turned on genes that protect against stress in animals. The comparison had been made with other midges, kept in constant darkness, which had been shown to live longer. To understand why high-energy blue light was responsible for accelerating aging this time the scientists compared the levels of metabolites, chemicals essential for the proper functioning of cells, in the two groups of insects (exposed to blue light for two weeks or kept in complete darkness). Exposure to blue light caused significant differences in reported levels: values ​​of the metabolite succinate were increased, but glutamate levels were reduced. Succinate is essential to produce the fuel for the function and growth of each cell, explained Jadwiga Giebultowicz, Professor in the Integrative Biology Department at Oregon State University and senior author of the study. The other troubling discovery was that the molecules responsible for the communication between neuronslike glutamate, were at lower levels (compared to those measured in the control group, ed) after exposure to blue light.

Research perspectives

What could it mean? For the midges the registered changes show a cell functioning at a suboptimal leveland this could cause them premature death and, further, explain previous findings that blue light accelerates premature aging. Obviously the results obtained on organisms of this type, although the signaling chemicals in the cells of flies and humans are the same, cannot be directly applied to humans. What can be hypothesized (and can be investigated in the future) is the potential negative effect of blue light on humans. In the study, among other things, a fairly strong blue light was used on the midges, but humans are exposed to one less intense lightso cell damage may be less dramatic than found in animals, the authors warned.

The sleep-wake cycle

LEDs have become the primary lighting in screens such as phones, desktops and TVs, as well as in ambient lighting, so humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most waking hours. Excessive exposure to screen light has been linked to obesity, lack of sleep and psychological problems.
The Scientific Committee for Health, Environment and Emerging Risks (CSSARE) of the European Commission, however, has officially expressed itself on LED lights, stating that there is no evidence of the existence of harmful effects on health deriving directly from LEDs in conditions of normal use by the general population in good health. However, it has been reported by the Commission that these lights can affect (like any light source) the sleep-wake cycle, which is particularly problematic for some subjects (such as adolescents).

August 31, 2022 (change August 31, 2022 | 13:36)

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