Excessive cell phone use may increase risk of precocious puberty

posted on 09/16/2022 15:49


The team plans to investigate the cell damage and inflammatory effects detected after longer exposure to blue light – (credit: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil)

Data from a mouse study — presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology this Friday (16/9) — suggests that excessive exposure to blue light through prolonged use of cell phones or tablets may increase the risk of precocious puberty, as changes in hormone levels were observed. The animals had reduced melatonin levels, increased reproductive hormones and physical changes in the ovary.

Puberty is a process that involves the coordination of various hormones and systems in the body. The reduction of melatonin levels is already an effect known to science, which impairs the quality of sleep in children and adults. Blue light inhibits the nightly surge of the hormone and interrupts the biological clock. However, the new study shows additional risks to child development and future fertility, the researchers said.


“We found that exposure to blue light, sufficient to alter melatonin levels, is also able to alter reproductive hormone levels and cause early onset of puberty in our mouse model. Also, the greater the exposure, the earlier the onset,” commented Aylin Kilinç Uurlu, one of the study’s authors.

However, the scientists point out that there is still no certainty that the results found in mice can be replicated in children. The team plans to investigate the cell damage and inflammatory effects detected after longer exposure to blue light.

“While not conclusive, we advise that the use of blue light-emitting devices should be minimized in prepubescent children, especially at night, when exposure can have the greatest hormone-altering effects,” recommended researcher Aylin Kilinç Uurlu.

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