Dr. William Tatum, director of the epilepsy unit at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida made an accidental discovery while monitoring his patients. Dr. Tatum’s chief technologist noticed “unusual brain activity” while patients (under observation using EEG) texted on their tablets and smartphones.
“Texting rhythm” (the term Dr. Tatum ascribes to brain wave activity during the act of texting) mimics the same brain activity as a seizure, in some patients.
Dr. Tatum expanded his study from the seven-bed unit at Mayo, to monitoring 130 patients over a period of 16 months. He and his team of researchers found that 20% of the patients displayed “texting rhythm” during the act of sending texts (not receiving them).
“What we found is beyond distraction, texting can lead to a biological change in the brain…New wave forms are extremely rare to find. The notion that an electronic device can in some way activate a network in the brain that is new is worth more research,” stated Dr. Tatum.
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