OSU study using mutant flies finds blue light from phones, computers may speed aging

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CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) - Mutant flies with no eyes helped OSU researchers in their latest findings, published Thursday in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease.

According to the study, prolonged exposure to blue light, such as light that comes from your phone and computer, could affect your longevity, even if it’s not shining in your eyes. 

The study examined how fruit flies responded to daily 12-hour exposures to blue LED light. It found that the light accelerated aging.

“We found that blue light was very detrimental to their survival,” Jaga Giebultowicz, an OSU researcher involved in the study, said.

Giebultowicz says when flies were exposed to blue light for 12 hours a day, they weren’t living as long, with damage to their brains and eyes. She say at first, they thought this was from blue light exposure to the eyes, but mutant flies that did not develop eyes also lived shorter, which proved that theory wrong.

“Which means that other cells not specifically designed to be photoreceptive also somehow could be damaged by light,” Giebultowicz said.

Giebultowicz said that the flies, if given a choice, avoided blue light.

Giebultowicz says the study’s findings are important to consider when thinking about cell phones, computers, and LEDs, which all have blue light, though the light’s impact on humans is unclear.

“I’m not saying that humans’ lifespan would be shortened, but of course, flies are tiny and more sensitive, but definitely, there are affects on the cells, and cells function very similarly in flies and in humans,” Giebultowicz said.

Giebultowicz hopes their study will prompt more medical study on the potential impact blue light has on humans.

In the meantime, there are a few things people can do to help themselves that don’t involve sitting for hours in darkness, the researchers say. Eyeglasses with amber lenses will filter out the blue light and protect your retinas, and phones, laptops and other devices can be set to block blue emissions.

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(1) comment


I am not sure how much I go with this. I have had computers over 40 years. Since 2001 I have been completly handicap. I spend anywhere from 30 to 40 hours a week in front of my computer. I do have 32 inch T.V's for monitors. I usually have two running most days. One is just Pictures. I have over 80,000 pictures on it. Always messing with both. Almost 80 years old and most people figure I am in my 60's.

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