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The Dumb Thumb Thing

Every once in a while I come across something so moronic that it ends up being extremely funny.  An article proclaiming that "Blackberry use can damage thumb" which appeared yesterday in BBC News is one such instance.

It appears that doctors in the UK and US are warning that "trendy handheld BlackBerry devices could cause damage to users' thumbs" as "repetitive use could cause arthritis or harm tendons in the thumb" because "the thumb works differently from the fingers and is designed to flex and rotate in all directions".

Apparently more than 1.3 million people who have bought a Blackberry since they came on to the market may therefore be 'at risk' as "prolonged used could potentially cause wear and tear on the thumb".  People who use them 'a lot' could "suffer from osteorarthritis".

Although nobody in the article mentions this, I have to assume that other 'thumb-board' devices such as our Treo are equally 'at risk'.  So, if you fall in the category of giving your Treo 'a lot' of thumb use you should however feel safe in the knowledge that the doctors have "not heard of any cases to date".

I have to admit that I'm still recovering from my laughing fit with all these news.  I have a nagging feeling that there may have been an editorial error at the BBC and that this article was actually intended to run on April Fools Day...

Blackberry use 'can damage thumb' [BBC News]

Treonauts like to suck their thumbs to soothe the damage...

Posted by Andrew on February 1, 2005 at 09:31 AM

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Tracked on Feb 1, 2005 9:25:46 PM


by unclejung | Feb 1, 2005 9:24:52 PM

I don't see anything wrong with the BBC article. It's based on solid scientific research on how thumbs work which is very different from how fingers work. If you talk to physiologists and ergonomic experts you would probably end up agreeing with the validity of the BBC article. Knowing quite a few people affected with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) to the point of having to quit their jobs and suffering from great pain, this is no April Fool joke.

In the end how thumb board affects consumers is based on how much one use it. I use mine less than 15 minutes a day so I don't expect any problem.

by Jason in Dallas | Feb 1, 2005 10:09:17 PM

The only thing "dumb" here is laughing at an article warning against possible bodily harm when you're not a doctor or otherwise qualified to dispute it. The article might be true or false - I'm not a doctor or ergonomics person so I don't know. But I certianly wouldn't laugh at it and call it dumb just because I don't want to believe it. Actually, if I had to guess I'd be inclined to believe it based on repetitive stress injury being a very real thing as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. I have a light case of carpal and my wife has it worse. On the days when she is in considerable pain if someone came along laughing and said "that's dumb, there's no such thing, your're making it up" I'd probably punch him person in the nose.

I suppose the warnings against cholesterol are also dumb? Tell that to the doctor who did emergency quadruple bypass surgery on my father.

by dan | Feb 1, 2005 11:34:05 PM

better numb thumbs than a worn out tongue from taling too much on a phone. those blackberrys are real tongue-healers.

by dan | Feb 1, 2005 11:34:47 PM

sorry, meant: from talking too much ...

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