Bizarre Medical News: The Perils of Taking Selfies

Welcome to Medshop Australia’s Bizarre Medical News Series. In these blogs, we’ll cover everything from wacky to downright unbelievable news. Some of it will be silly, some of it serious, but always newsworthy. We thought we’d kick things off with a walk through the selfie future that has wrapped its arms around the whole planet. If you’re to believe everything you read, it seems we’ve lost our morality taking selfies. Is it true?     Bizarre Medical News- Selfies.png     What if you could travel back in time, like, really travel back in time? If you traveled back one hundred years you would find that life wasn't so different. Smells would be the most noticeable. They even had cameras. Of course, taking pictures was more of an event, something enjoyed only by people of means. Selfies were not even a whisper in time. In fact, if you only travelled back ten years ago you wouldn’t find the selfie future we enjoy today. Selfies have been around for decades, but not so prolific as they’ve been post-digital photography. Prior to digital, one couldn’t afford to waste precious shots on such a skilled shot. Imagine trying to explain to someone in 1995 what was Facebook, but also how people would eventually develop physiological pathologies around this practice called taking selfies. Not to mention they would develop physical maladies and even die for this practice. It's nearly unbelievable today.    

Selfie Syndrome (Selfitis)

  Selfie Bomb.png     Claims of an actual diagnosis by the The American Psychiatric Association have been debunked as “not real,” but that doesn’t mean that posting endless selfies isn’t problematic. In some fairly recent research, posted in Psychology Today, the topics of selfies and narcissism were examined in two studies. One study surveyed 748 adults, the other, 548. The first asked participants to track the number of selfies they posted. In the other group, researchers were granted access to participants Facebook pages to count their selfies. Interestingly, the research found more correlation between women and selfies, but of the men who posted selfies, there was more of a connection to narcissism. The evidence is pretty thin and more complicated than it sounds. For example, there are more classes of narcissism than just one, so more research will be needed. Is there a connection between selfies and the emotional or mental well-being of posters? Time will tell.    

Selfie Elbow

  epicondylitis.png     Alright, so this one sounds pretty official, albeit silly, but is it real. It is, although you won’t find the name “Selfie Elbow” in any medical texts. That’s not just because it’s a brand new syndrome. The act of taking so many selfies that one begins to feel pain can create something called epicondylitis. While selfies may be a new phenomenon, epicondylitis is nothing new. You may know it as Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow. In fact, Tennis Elbow was the Selfie Elbow of yesterday, a trendy twist on an existing nickname. The term Selfie Elbow entered our modern lexicon when a reporter, Hoda Kotb, known for her selfie posting, cited a Doctor’s diagnosis on the air. What really happened to Kotb is overuse of her elbow in a compromised position. Just make sure you stretch before you selfie going forward.    

Death by Selfie

  Death By Selfie.png     This is no joke. A review of your favourite search engine will turn out dozens of results where selfie takers have lost their lives taking selfies. Take a look at the size of this list in Wikipedia. Everything from falling off tall places to drowning has been cited as causes for death when taking selfies. Just this month, a man fell to his death in Peru at the Machu Picchu site. He had climbed into a restricted area to get a good shot, but slipped, falling 130 feet. Similar to the other two on this list, the concept of death by selfie may just be re-branding an already existing term. Accidental death data, if you include automobile accidents, is ranked just behind Cancer and Respiratory diseases. It’s merely the innovation of digital cameras that has facilitated another motivator behind choices which can ultimately end in death.     Space Selfie.png     While it seems the latest news on danger surrounding selfies may be daunting, the reality of these news bites is they are simply headlines. (What generation hasn’t looked on the one replacing it to comment how things are in decay?) If you could really travel back in time to tell people about any of these realities, they may recognise them without all the fancy words. We’ve had self-image obsessed people since before the invention of the camera. Humans have been living with elbow pain since the Scots invented golf or longer, and accidental death probably once held first place. Like those pics? You should see them all on our Pinterest page. Come Join us on Pinterest!
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