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Digital Dementia: The Silent Effects of Technology

We have plenty to owe to the effects of technology. Without it, we’d probably be still sending each other messages by pigeons. However, overusing these digital devices that we’ve come to love and adore can also bring about dire consequences, which includes digital dementia.

If you’ve never heard of digital dementia or what exactly it entails, you don’t have to worry. We talked to Dr. Judy Lee from Wellness of Life Chiropractic to run you through the nitty gritty details of this growing health epidemic.

What is Digital Dementia?

The term “digital dementia” was first coined in 2012, from a book published by a German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer. He describes it as a worrying trend on “how overuse of digital technology is resulting in the breakdown of cognitive abilities” comparing the symptoms to those of head injuries or psychiatric disorders.

What Causes Digital Dementia?

An online community dedicated to Alzheimer’s has described digital dementia as when a person develops a heavy reliance on their electronic devices. By limiting your memorizing of information with modern technology, this will hamper the development of the right side of your brain. As this houses your creative and imaginative thought processes, this will lead to mental deficiencies such as inattentiveness, short memory span, and depression.

Other than that, the American Posture Institute believes the prolonged periods of looking down on your screen will cause you to have a dominant flexor posture, where your shoulders and head are slumped forward in a C-shape. This posture will potentially lead to a cerebral dysfunction in the long term, which restricts the blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain and contributing to the symptoms of digital dementia.

Who Usually Suffers from Digital Dementia?

Adults who have had too much screen time, youngsters engrossed with their entertainment system, or even children who toy around with their parents’ mobile devices are all at similar risk of developing digital dementia.

“The more time a person spends staring at an electronic screen,” Dr. Lee explained, “the higher their chance of suffering from postural distortions and nervous system imbalances in the long run.”

Many of us are unaware of digital dementia and how it comes about with the effect of technology

What Are the Early Symptoms of Digital Dementia?

Early symptoms of digital dementia include deterioration in mental capacity, including memory, concentration and attention span. Individuals may find themselves in difficulty to recall number patterns, directions or even names.

Early symptoms of digital dementia include deterioration in mental capacity, including memory, concentration and attention span. Individuals may find themselves in difficulty to recall number patterns, directions or even names.

In other cases, they might exhibit postural disorders, such as the forward head posture, where the head is passively slumped forward due to them looking down at their mobile screens for extended durations.

“These symptoms, while minor at first, can develop into something much more serious over time as they age,” Dr. Lee explained. “The progressive condition can bring about a range of degenerative mental effects, such as a lack of motivation, coordination and social seclusion.”

How to Reduce the Risk of Digital Dementia?

By significantly reducing the time spent on electronic devices, individuals can cut down on their chances of falling victim to digital dementia.

Dr. Lee also advised in delaying the introduction of technology to young children, as it will prove useful in preventing an early onset of developmental issues and cognitive decline when they grow.

“Lastly, by identifying and correcting any underlying postural disorders can help reduce the risk of digital dementia,” she added. Postural disorders include hunching, slouching or a swayed back.

Is There a Cure for Digital Dementia?

Fortunately, digital dementia isn’t something that’s permanent. However, an affected individual must adopt an active role in both prevention and control should they wish to combat the disease.

“If possible, try to visit the library to gather needed information instead of relying on the Internet,” Dr. Lee advised. “You can also pick up a few physical exercises to promote good body health and improve your blood flow.”

“Of course, there will be times that avoiding the effects of technology will be near impossible with our current work environment,” she commented. “In that case, consider taking breaks in between to stretch your legs and let your brain work a little on something else.”

However, should you feel that your condition is something that won’t be simply cured by a few lifestyle changes, Dr. Lee highly recommends visiting a chiropractor to get your posture checked.

“Postural distortions are often connected to problems with our nervous system functions, including digital dementia,” she shared. “Correcting these can be vital in improving your overall nervous system and brain health.”

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