Mobile is it. It is a non-negotiated pre-requisite for being proactive, productive and in the know. But what about now, when we are firmly anchored to our homes? Is it a necessity, a frivolity, or a risk factor? Whatever it is, the effects of mobile tech deserve to be acknowledged and examined.
I am not a newbie to working from home, but with the current lockdown all my interactions suddenly became digital, and I found myself to be constantly bathing in WIFI with the smartphone by my side beeping, beaming and buzzing incessantly. I kept on practicing the same digital hygiene, by turning off WIFI and the phone at night and using the blue light blocking glasses. But what kept me well before no longer worked in the new normal. Adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition could not ward off the ever-increasing fatigue and headaches. So, instead of examining the obvious factors, I turned to the less perceptible ones: WIFI and cell phone waves.
On the Easter weekend I went into the digital detox: turned off WIFI in the house and parted with my phone. After about 20 hours of non-exposure, I felt a strong sensation of expansion behind my sternum comparable to the sense of joy you can only feel in childhood in anticipation of something wonderous to happen. The organ responsible for this joyful feeling is the thymus.
The thymus is a gland located behind the sternum in the upper portion of the chest cavity between the lungs and atop of the heart. It has been only 50 years since its essential role in the human immune system was discovered by Jaques Miller, who investigated the effects of thymus removal in newborn and adult mice. Unlike adult mice, newborn mice had a lower concentration of white bold cells and could not fight off infection. That discovery laid the foundation for the modern immunology. The thymus is relatively large in newborns, about the size of the heart, and plays an important role in the immune system development. It starts to shrink at puberty and virtually disappears in the mid-60s. Thymus atrophy explains why older adults have difficulty fighting off infections.
Recently Dr. Julie Sheridan and Dr. Daniel Gray discovered a cell responsible for thymus atrophy. They identified a stromal progenitor cell that replaces healthy, functioning immune tissue with fat as we age. They also expressed hope that further research may reveal how to stop and reverse this process.
But what are the factors that speed up thymus atrophy? Among many factors that list various infections and stress response, there is also a signaling process related to a rapid reduction in the dense capillaries within the thymus. A quick search on EMF and thymus revealed that in rat experiments, EMF radiation leads to “the endothelial permeability and vascularization of the thymus”. I am not a rat, but my thymus started singing with joy once I stopped blasting it with WIFI.
So, what are the takeaways? The thymus isn’t the only organ that suffers from EMF exposure, but it is the crucial one in helping us to stay healthy by fighting off infections. What can be done? Get wired, plugin, ban Bluetooth, take off smartwatches and health trackers. If you have neighbors who may blast you with WIFI, use aluminum foil as a barrier (no joke). There are plenty of solutions on the market, including clothing and wearables, just google “EMF protection.”
Don’t worry, be wired, stay healthy!
Photo credit: energepic.com