Too much screen time can lead to earlier puberty

Like adults, children’s screen time can be increase for many years, and increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 spend between four and six hours using or viewing screens each day, and teenagers spend up to nine hours, according to American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This is significantly more than an hour of daily device usage doctor Recommended for children aged two to five years.

Blue light, or high-energy visible light, is produced by the sun but also by our screens, which has experts concerned about how blue light exposure through devices affects to our health. Follow Harvard Medical School.

In a mouse study, higher levels of blue light exposure were associated with earlier onset of puberty in women, according to a new study presented Friday at The 60th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology. The study also noted that exposure was associated with lower melatonin levels, higher levels of certain reproductive hormones, and changes in the body composition of the ovaries.

In the study, different groups of mice were exposed to normal amounts of light, six hours of blue light and 12 hours of blue light per day. The mice that were exposed to blue light for the longest time had the earliest puberty. The mice exposed to blue light also had reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep, and the mice exposed to the longest blue light experienced cell damage and inflammation of their ovaries. Melatonin levels are the greatest during pre-puberty compared with during puberty, “it’s a factor that inhibits the onset of puberty,” said Dr. Aylin Kilinç Uğurlu, study author Dr. Luck.

“Blue light is the light that suppresses melatonin levels the most,” says Uğurlu. “Blue light exposure lowers melatonin levels and causes early puberty [in rats] by reducing its inhibitory effect at the onset of puberty. “

During the pandemic, doctors report more girls going through puberty earlier, according to washington articles, and why is largely unknown. A study conducted in Turkey found that the number of girls diagnosed with unexplained precocious puberty more than doubled in the first year of the pandemic compared with the previous three years. Early puberty is associated with higher levels of mental health problems, including depression and social anxiety, according to American Psychological Association.

Although the results in mice cannot be generalized to children, she said, that the “hormonal mechanism,” which includes ovulation during, before and after puberty, in mice and humans is similar. together.

Findings that can lead to blue light are classified as risk factor Uğurlu said, following press warnings about the early onset of puberty.

Essentially, research shows that blue light exposure and its association with precocious puberty need to be examined more closely.

“In the coming years, as the place of portable electronic devices in our lives gradually increases, blue light exposure in childhood will also increase,” says Uğurlu. . “We think the use of mobile devices, known as the inevitable source of blue light, should be prevented in childhood, especially in the evening, and we should limit the amount of time we spend using it. use.”

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