Students: Laptop-itis a Real Threat?

August 23, 2010

As the trendy and useful portable PC’s sales exceed desktop sales at Universities, a new threat is emerging for students. Laptop-itis is what the new ailment is being called, and arises from long hours of poor posture inherent in using portable computers. Check out the full story, with pictures and video below!

Laptop itis

The ailment can cause headaches, muscle strain and debilitating neck, shoulder and hand nerve injuries if left untreated. To prevent the disorder, Dr. Kevin Carneiro says your body should form 90-degree angles at the elbows, knees and hips. Use a docking station and cables to hook up to an external monitor and/or separate keyboard that are moveable to encourage better posture.

Any undergraduate pulling an all-nighter to crank out that final paper can testify to having experienced the effects of the disorder, such as a sore back and neck, and possibly even tingling arms. But it’s the repeated exposure to bad posture that can be particularly damaging.

Carneiro, a doctor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, has been studying the disorder and its effects, and says it is a real threat for students. Laptop-itis, while it may sound ridiculous, can even lead to carpel tunnel syndrome, which could make typing up that final paper painful or down right impossible.

“When you use a laptop, you have to make some sort of sacrifice,” Carneiro says.

According to the Doctor, the choice students make sacrifices posture for convenience. The problem, he says, is inherent with the design of portable PCs. The fixed distance between the screen and the keyboard will force any user to either crane their neck down to the screen, or lift their arms too high to type, putting strain on the wrists.

What do you think of this ‘new threat’ against students? Laptop-itis can certainly have some damaging effects, but it’s the awareness that the new label brings that will be the most important effect. Do you think the awareness will have an effect on today’s eager young minds? Let me know in the comment section! But not before you check out a video of more amusing ways to injure yourself with portable computers below!

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