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IntroComputers and phones have made life easier for most of us, but perhaps harder for an unlucky few.
Technology-related injuries, ranging from irritating neck and shoulder pain to fatal accidents, are the flip side of gadgets that are generally helpful. Some of these injuries come on suddenly, while others, such as those caused by doing repeated tasks, take a long time to develop.
And the number of cases are growing. A national study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that sudden computer-related injuries are rising rapidly in the United States, and that young children are most affected.
Researchers have documented cases of tech-related injuries in medical journals, and sometimes have to give newly discovered conditions names, some of which are rather creative.
Here are nine odd injuries caused by everyday gadgets:
Lightning strikesSlide 2 of 19
It is unlucky to get struck by lightning, and it’s even unluckier when that happens while holding an electrical object.
In one such incident, a 15-year-old girl was hit by lightning while using her phone in a large park in London. She went into cardiac arrest, and had to be resuscitated. She also lost her hearing on the side she was holding the phone due to damage to her eardrum.
When lightning strikes a person, the electrical current generally flows over the skin without entering the body, because of the high electrical resistance of human skin. This phenomenon is called flashover.
However, holding a metallic object against the skin disrupts the flashover, and may result in internal injury, the doctors who treated the teenager wrote in the case report.Slide 3 of 19
PlayStation palmar hidradenitisSlide 4 of 19
PlayStation palmar hidradenitis
This newly identified skin disorder named after the PlayStation is caused by holding the console for too tightly for a long time.
"PlayStation palmar hidradenitis," or PlayStation rash, was first diagnosed in a 12-year-old girl in Switzerland. She had developed painful lesions on her palms and nowhere else on her body. After questioning, the doctors discovered that just before the lumps appeared, the girl had been playing a game on her PlayStation for several hours daily.
"The tight and continuous grasping of the hand-grips, together with repeated pushing of the buttons produce minor but continuous trauma to the (palm) surfaces," Vincent Piguet and colleagues at University Hospitals and Medical School of Geneva reported in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2009.
A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd, the PlayStation's maker, defended the product, saying the injury involved one person, while hundreds of millions of people use these devices.
"As with any leisure pursuit there are possible consequences of not following common sense, health advice and guidelines, as can be found within our instruction manuals," a Sony spokesman said at the time.Slide 5 of 19
TV screens and photosensitive seizuresSlide 6 of 19
TV screens and photosensitive seizures
As virtually all gamers have likely repeatedly seen in on-screen warnings, a small percentage of people may experience seizures or blackouts when watching certain light patterns on a TV screen, or in video games.
About 1 in 100 people have epilepsy, and 3 to 5 percent of people who have the condition have a photosensitive form of it. It’s not known what causes epilepsy, but abnormal wiring of the brain or imbalance in brain’s signaling chemicals are thought to have a role.
There’s no cure for most types of epilepsy. People who have photosensitive epilepsy should avoid any regular moving patterns or flickering lights that might trigger the condition.
Such seizure-triggering visual patterns can also be found in places other than games and TV, such as the visual alarming system of emergency vehicles and strobe lighting in dance clubs, although they may be becoming less common.Slide 7 of 19
BlackBerry thumb and iPad handSlide 8 of 19