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Looking at laptops, TV and phones making us age faster

Researchers also found that blue light could lead to obesity and psychological problems.

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By Alice Clifford via SWNS

Too much blue light from gadgets such as TVs and laptops could accelerate the ageing process, according to a new study.

Researchers found that blue light could lead to obesity and psychological problems.

Study senior author Professor Jadwiga Giebultowicz said: “Excessive exposure to blue light from everyday devices, such as TVs, laptops, and phones, may have detrimental effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells, to sensory neurons.”

The research team used fruit flies in the study and revealed that they were affected by the light. This is significant as human and fly cells have similarities.

Giebultowicz, of Oregon State University, said: “The signalling chemicals in the cells of flies and humans are the same, so there is potential for negative effects of blue light on humans.

"To understand why high-energy blue light is responsible for accelerating aging in fruit flies, we compared the levels of metabolites in flies exposed to blue light for two weeks to those kept in complete darkness.

“We are the first to show that the levels of specific metabolites – chemicals that are essential for cells to function correctly – are altered in fruit flies exposed to blue light.”

The team found that the cells in fruit flies don’t function at an optimal level after being exposed to the light, which they suggest could cause early death.

Through examining the cells in the flies’ heads, they discovered that the levels of the metabolite, succinate, were increased, while glutamate levels were lowered.

Succinate is essential for producing the fuel for the function and growth of each cell and glutamate is responsible for the communication between neurons.

Giebultowicz said: “High levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be compared to gas being in the pump but not getting in the car.”

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And low levels of glutamate could result in a decrease in brain function, thus causing premature aging.

In the world we live now, blue light seems to have taken over.

Giebultowicz said: “LEDs have become the main illumination in display screens such as phones, desktops and TVs, as well as ambient lighting, so humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most of their waking hours.”

The next step in the research is to study the effects on human cells.

Giebultowicz said: “The results from the study suggests that future research involving human cells is needed to establish the extent to which human cells may show similar changes in metabolites involved in energy production in response to excessive exposure to blue light.”

He added: “We used fairly strong blue light on the flies – humans are exposed to less intense light, so cellular damage may be less dramatic.”

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ageing, develops on previous research they have done that shows how fruit flies kept in constant darkness lived longer than those exposed to light.

Giebultowicz added: “Our study suggests that avoidance of excessive blue light exposure may be a good anti-aging strategy.”

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