Mobile Phone Use and The Risk of Headache: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cross-sectional Studies

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Mobile Phone Use and The Risk of Headache: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cross-sectional Studies
Key Take-Away: 

Use of mobile phone is significantly associated with headache.

Since the 1990s the use of mobile phones (MP) has drastically increased globally. In the 21st century, many more applications other than communication have been emerged, such as internet access to various form of entertainment facilities like games, music, videos, etc. 

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Since the 1990s the use of mobile phones (MP) has drastically increased globally. In the 21st century, many more applications other than communication have been emerged, such as internet access to various form of entertainment facilities like games, music, videos, etc. Although these applications make the human life more digital, easy and fast, but is also linked to various side effects such as headache, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, short-term memory, dizziness, tinnitus, fatigue, and benign warming of the ear.

Among these side effects headache is the most common syndrome associated with MP use. Earlier studies have shown that during the last decade, cases of severe headache due to MP use have rapidly increased. However, these studies do not provide sufficient data to confirm the pros and cons of MP use. Thus, to get a better understanding of link between MP use and headache, this meta-analysis of various cross-sectional studies was performed.

 

Rationale behind the research

  • Literature reported the various cases of headache due to the over use of MP, but these had small sample size.
  • Therefore, this meta-analysis study was conducted to assess the relationship between MP use and headache.

Objective

To gain a better understanding of relationship between MP use and headache.

Methods: 

 

Note: This was a meta-analysis.

Study outcome measures

  • Data Extraction: Two reviewers independently extracted and summarized the data of the included studies.
  • Quality Assessment: The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to evaluate the quality of each included study.
  • Time period: Not reported
Results: 

 

Study Outcomes

  • Quality Assessment
    • MP versus non-MP user: The combined results revealed higher risk of headache for MP user compared with non-MP user (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.18–1.61) (p<0.001, I2 = 58.9%).
    • Long versus short MP call duration: According to the daily MP calling time, MP users were divided into different groups (<2 min group, 2–15 min group, >15 min group). Compared with the <2 min group, the pooled OR was 1.62 (95% CI, 1.34–1.98) (p<0.001, I2 = 0.0%) for 2–15 min group and 2.50 (95% CI, 1.76–3.54) (p<0.001, I2 = 56.6%) for >15 min group. The result showed an increased risk of headache in those who had longer daily MP calling time (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Effect on OR Long versus short MP call duration.

  • High versus low MP use frequency: According to the daily MP use frequency, MP users were divided into different groups (<2 calls group, 2–4 calls group, >4 calls group). Compared with the <2 calls group, the pooled OR was 1.37 (95% CI, 1.07–1.76) (p<0.001, I2 = 7.5%) for 2–4 calls group and 2.52 (95% CI, 1.78–3.58) (p<0.001, I2 = 56.8%) for >4 calls group. The results showed an increased risk of headache in those who had higher daily MP use frequency (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Effect on OR Long versus short MP call frequency.

Conclusion: 

The present meta-analysis suggests that MP use is significantly associated with headache. The pooled result of the meta-analysis were much consistent with most of  the studies such as Redmayne’s et al which reported the number and duration of cellphone calls were significantly associated with headache (>6 cellphone calls >10 min weekly, adjusted OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.2–4.8). Similarly, Szyjkowska et al  reported 18.8 OR for headache related to >30 min/daily MP use. A study conducted by Khan et al reported the percent of chronic headache was related to daily MP use duration (5.03% in ≤30 min group, 24.69% in 30–60 min group, 39.39% in 60–90 min group and 30.76% in >90 min group, p<0.0001). In addition, a cohort study by Schuz et al on 420,095 Danish people, showed the significant increase in hospitalization ratio by 10-30% for migraine in MP users. Previous studies have reported the prevalence of MP usage among adult and children to be 69.8% and 63.2% respectively. Thus, the estimate of its prevalence in future will be much higher.

The results of this meta-analysis and many of previous studies herein support the current clinical opinion that MP use may cause increased risk for headache. Therefore, the frequency and longer duration of MP usage can be considered a risk factor for headache.

Scientific reports. 2017 Oct 3;7(1):12595.
Exploratory, Headache, Head, Systematic review and Meta-analysis

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