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A fresh health advisory has emerged concerning excessive screen time among children using smartphones or tablets. Recent findings by Turkish researchers indicate a potential link between early puberty and exposure to blue light, commonly emitted by digital devices.

Cases of early adolescence surged during the pandemic

These discoveries lay the groundwork for an improved comprehension of the potential impact of contemporary behaviors, particularly the rising usage of screens, on the physical maturation of youngsters. The enigmatic commencement of premature adolescence in a number of children remains a subject lacking a clear explanation. While occasionally linked to genetic elements, brain irregularities (such as injuries or tumors), or disorders involving the thyroid, adrenal, or reproductive glands, this phenomenon remains shrouded in mystery.

In recent times, there has been an increase in instances of early puberty occurring in both males and females. This trend has become especially pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a study conducted by scientists from Ankara Bilkent City Hospital and Gazi University in Turkey, 18 male rats aged 21 days were divided into three groups and exposed to different amounts of blue light: a regular light cycle, six hours, or 12 hours. The research revealed that male rats exposed to increased blue light experienced an earlier onset of puberty. Moreover, these rats exhibited impaired sperm development and signs of damage to testicular tissue.

Exposure to blue light leads to early onset of puberty

This research group has previously noted an early onset of puberty in female rats exposed to blue light, and these recent findings are in line with their earlier observations.

In the study, Dr. Aylin Kılınç Uğurlu from Ankara Bikent City Hospital discovered a link between blue light exposure and early puberty in male rats. This finding complements prior research on female rats, reinforcing the understanding of blue light’s impact on puberty in both genders.

Dr. Uğurlu stated that they conducted the study to mice and its results cannot be replicated in human models. Nevertheless, it serves as a starting point for exploring the potential health impacts of growing screen time in our contemporary society.