Questions Raised About Study Linking Phones to Bone Spurs in Skull

A study that made recent headlines about a possible link between excessive cell phone use and bone spurs in the skull contained significant flaws, according to several reports.

One concern, reported Tuesday in The Washington Post, is that one of the lead authors, a chiropractor named David Shahar, of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, may have had a conflict of interest — an undisclosed business venture selling pillows to help posture. Another report, published by, raised another problem: the authors hypothesized about the link between the skull bone growths and technology, but didn't measure the subjects' phone usage.

The study, which was originally published in 2018 in the respected peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports, caused a sensation last week after being brought to light first in a recent BBC article and then the Washington Post. (Scientific Reports is a part of Nature Research, which also publishes the renowned science journal Nature.) NBC News reported it Thursday, noting that the Australian study highlighted how little is known about the effects of excessive technology use on the human body.

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