Blue light emitted by smartphones and computers accelerates aging

Blue light emitted by smartphones and computers accelerates aging
Blue light emitted by smartphones and computers accelerates aging

posted on 01/09/2022 06:00


(credit: Wikimedia Commons/Disclosure)

With the excessive use of electronics such as cell phones and TV and computer screens, people are exposed practically all day to the blue light emitted by these devices. Studies have already shown an association between this type of radiation and obesity and psychological problems. Now, new research suggests that basic cellular functions may be affected by it. One of the direct effects is aging, says the article published in the journal Frontiers in Agin.

“Excessive exposure to blue light from everyday devices can have harmful effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells to sensory neurons,” Jadwiga Giebulowicz, from the Department of Health, said in a statement. Integrative Biology at Oregon State University in the United States and senior author of the study.

“We are the first to show that levels of specific metabolites — chemicals essential for cells to function properly — are altered in fruit flies exposed to blue light. Our study suggests that avoiding excessive exposure to blue light may be a good strategy anti-aging,” said Giebultowicz.

Previously, the same group of researchers showed that when exposed to blue light, fruit flies, known as fruit flies, activate stress-protective genes. Those kept in constant darkness lived longer.

Metabolites

To understand why high-energy blue light is responsible for accelerating aging in fruit flies, the researchers compared the levels of metabolites in fruit flies exposed to this type of radiation for two weeks with those kept in complete darkness. In the first case, there were significant differences in substances measured in brain cells.

In particular, the scientists found that levels of the succinate metabolite increased, but those of glutamate were reduced. “Succinate is essential to produce the fuel for each cell’s function and growth. High levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be likened to the gas being at the pump but not getting into the car,” explained Giebultowicz. “Another worrying finding was that the molecules responsible for communication between neurons, such as glutamate, are at their lowest level after exposure to blue light,” he said.

The changes suggest that the cells are operating at a suboptimal level, and this could cause their premature death, as well as accelerating aging. Future work will study the effects directly on humans. According to ophthalmologist Nubia Vanessa, from the CBV-Hospital de Olhos and the Department of Health of the Federal District, it is possible that the effects are the same. “All of the blue light-altered metabolites in the study are common to both fly and human cells. Therefore, it is possible that prolonged exposure to blue light could have similar, albeit more subtle, effects on skin, subcutaneous fat, and other cells in humans.” , he pointed out.

The doctor warned that excessive exposure to this type of radiation can affect eye health. “It can affect vision because there is the production of free radicals that alter ocular metabolism, favoring aging. With this, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other corneal changes can occur”, she said.

In addition to reducing the time of use of electronics, Nubia Vanessa advised the use of filters and recommended opting for the black background in the equipment, which reduces the effects of blue light. “Always try to be in bright environments, to reduce eye stress and, if possible, do not use the computer at bedtime”, added Maisa Kairalla, a geriatric doctor at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and the Brazilian Society of Geriatrics. and Gerontology.

The article is in Portuguese

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