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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 121-125

Long term effects of mobile phone use on sleep quality, stress score and depression score in female medical students


Department of Physiology, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Karad, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission21-Nov-2020
Date of Decision07-Jun-2021
Date of Acceptance20-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication27-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anand Govind Joshi
Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Karad, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_120_20

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  Abstract 


BACKGROUND: Extensive us of mobile phones (MP) has led to exposure to a dangerous level of electromagnetic fields (EMF). Adolescents are at an age where good quality sleep, mental and physical wellbeing is of utmost importance. Recent studies have shown that the EMF radiation from MP and similar devices can cause symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, depression, moodiness , anxiety etc. However there is no conclusive data available so far on this issue. So present research work was conducted to assess quality of sleep, stress score and depression score in female medical students those they were using mobile phones for longer durations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: For present study 240 female medical students (age group 18 to 23 years) were studied. Depending upon mobile use students were divided into following groups. Group A) 1 to 50000 minutes. Group B) 50001 to 100000 minutes. Group C) 100001 to 150000 minutes. Group D) 150001 and Above. Minutes. Following tests were studied in all the students. 1) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality test score 2)Three Minute Depression Test score 3) Stress score . Values of various scores were compared within the groups.
RESULTS: For depression score Significant difference (P value<.05 ) was observed between group A (4.029 ± 2.91) and Group C (6.65 ±4.64). No significant differences were observed for stress and sleep scores.
CONCLUSION: Long term MP use is associated with mild type of depression. However further research on large sample size, exact measure of EMF exposure and more duration of EMF exposure is required to reach to conclusion.

Keywords: Depression score, mobile phone, sleep quality score, stress score


How to cite this article:
Joshi AA, Wingkar KC, Joshi AG, Kakade S V. Long term effects of mobile phone use on sleep quality, stress score and depression score in female medical students. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2022;7:121-5

How to cite this URL:
Joshi AA, Wingkar KC, Joshi AG, Kakade S V. Long term effects of mobile phone use on sleep quality, stress score and depression score in female medical students. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 16];7:121-5. Available from: https://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2022/7/1/121/348259



Today, mobile phones (MPs) have become an indispensable tool because of the countless perks it provides. According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, today, there are 5.20 billion people that have an MP in the world. This means that 67.11% of the world population has an MP. Back in 2017, the number of people with MP was only 53% and breached the 5 billion mark. Statista predicts that by 2023, this number of MP users will increase to 7.33 billion.[1] MPs are operating at frequencies between 450 and 2700 MHz, most frequent operating frequencies are in the range of 0.1–2 W.[2] Extensive use of MPs has led to exposure to a severe level of electromagnetic waves. Good quality of sleep and mental and physical well-being is more important for adolescents and growing children. Recent research work has shown that the electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from MP and similar devices can cause symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, depression, moodiness, and anxiety.[3] As per the Indian Council of Medical Research reports, exposure to radiation from MPs causes adverse health effects; however, results are not convincing. Hence, present scientific evidences indicate that there is a need of further studies for bioeffects and possible adverse health effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation. So the present research work was carried out to test weather , exposure to EMF from mobile phone use is associated with increase in stress and depression scores and reduced quality of sleep. Hence, to test the hypothesis, the present research work was conducted to assess the quality of sleep, stress score, and depression score in female medical students who were using MPs for longer durations.


  Materials and Methods Top


For the present study, 240 female medical students (age group: 18–23 years) from KIMS, Karad, were studied. The study was carried out in the Department of Physiology, KIMS, Karad, Maharashtra. Written consent was obtained. Institutional ethical committee approval was obtained for the study. The study was conducted in the morning hours from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Test was carried out during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (7th–12th day from 1st day of menstruation.). The detailed history and general and systemic examination of each subject was carried out to check for inclusion criteria. A detailed history of MP use of each subject was collected. Actual average talking time (minutes) on mobile every day and number of years talking on mobile were recorded. Total number of minutes of MP exposure was calculated. As no students were available as true controls (not using MP), depending on MP use, students were divided into the following groups: Group A – 1–50,000 min; Group B – 50,001–100,000 min; Group C – 100,001–150,000 min; and Group D – 150,001 and above minutes. The following tests were studied in all the students: (1) Pittsburgh sleep quality test score, (2) 3-min depression test score, and (3) stress score. Values of various scores were compared within the groups.

Inclusion criteria

Apparently healthy female medical students aged 18–23 years and willing to participate in the study were included. The study was conducted in the postmenstrual phase.

Exclusion criteria

Students with a history of taking any drugs such as antihistamines, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers; central nervous system disorders, endocrine disorders, and psychiatric disorders; and any major illness or infection and examination appearing students within 1-month duration or history suggestive of any stressful event were excluded from the study.

The following tests were carried out in all the students:

  • Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) test: Students were told to read each question carefully and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months. The measure consists of 19 individual items, creating seven components that produce one global score, consisting of 19 items. The PSQI measures several different aspects of sleep, offering seven component scores and one composite score. The component scores consist of subjective sleep quality, sleep latency (i.e., how long it takes to fall asleep), sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency (i.e., the percentage of time in bed that one is asleep), sleep disturbances, use of sleeping medication, and daytime dysfunction. Each item is weighted on a 0–3 interval scale. The global PSQI score is then calculated by totaling the seven component scores, providing an overall score ranging from 0 to 21, where lower scores denote a healthier sleep quality. Total score of ≥5 indicates poor sleep quality[4],[5]
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 – Depression Severity: Students were asked, over the last few weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems. Totally, there are 11 questions, and you have to answer all questions. Mark one of the four options. Option: (1) not at all, (2) several days, (3) more than half the days. (4) nearly every day. The following marks were given for each option: (1) not at all – 0 marks, (2) several days – 1 marks, (3) more than half the days – 2 marks, and (4) nearly every day – 3 marks. As per the options marked by the students, total marks were calculated. Depression severity was graded as per the total marks: 0–4: none; 5–9: mild; 10–14: moderate; 15–19: moderately severe; and 20–27: severe[6]
  • Stress score test (designed by the Ministry of social security national solidarity and reforms Institution) was used to measure stress score. The following instructions were given to the students. A list of 20 questions that relate to life experiences common among people who have been experiencing stress is given below. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months. You have to mark any of the five options. The options are (1) never, (2) rarely, (3) sometimes, (4) often, and (5) very often. The following marks were allotted for each option: (1) never – 0 marks;(2) rarely – 1 mark; (3) sometimes – 2 marks,(4) often – 3 marks, and (5) very often – 4 marks. As per the questions answered by the students final stress score was calculated. Stress score was interpreted as follows. 1) 0 to 20 good: control over the stress. 2) 21 to 40 :-Low level of stress. 3) 41 to 60 :-medium level of stress.4)61 to 80:-High level of stress.[7]



  Results Top


Depending upon total duration of exposure four groups such as A, B, C, and D were formed [Table 1]. A group of students had minimum exposure, and D group had maximum exposure. Group B and group C were in between exposure [Table 1].
Table 1: Number of groups and duration of mobile use of students

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One-way ANOVA test was used for multiple group comparisons. No significant differences were observed between the groups A, B, C, and D for stress scores P value > .05 [Table 2].
Table 2: Effect of mobile use for stress score on various exposure groups

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No significant differences were observed between the groups A, B, C, and D for sleep scores P value > .05 [Table 3].
Table 3: Effect of mobile use for sleep score on various exposure groups

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Significant differences were observed between the groups A, B, C, and D for depression scores [Table 4]. P value 001.
Table 4: Effect of mobile use for depression score on various exposure groups

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Post hoc Tukey's test. showed significant difference between Groups A and C (P value 001). No significant differences were observed between the group A, and B, Group A and D. Group B and C, Group B and D, Group C and B, Group C and D (P value >.05).

Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS, version 20.0. Data were summarized into mean ± standard deviation. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used for multiple group comparisons followed by post hoc Tukey's test. P < 0.05 was said to be significant. P > 0.05 was considered as not significant (NS.)


  Discussion Top


EMF is divided mainly into two groups: (1) higher-frequency EMF. It is ionizing radiation and can damage DNA or cells. X-rays and gamma rays are examples of higher-frequency EMF. (2) Low-to mid-frequency EMFs: It is nonionizing radiation, and it is not known to damage DNA or cells directly. Examples of low-to mid-frequency EMFs are radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, and visible light. MP emits RF radiation. MPs are operating at frequencies between 450 and 2700 MHz. In the present study, effect of MP use on sleep, depression and stress scores were studied. In the present study, exact total exposure to EMF waves was very difficult to calculate as the different types of mobiles were used by the students. The specific absorption rate was different for different mobiles. Hence, it was considered that more is the use of MP, more is the exposure to EMF. Hence, four groups such as A, B, C, and D were formed [Table 1]. A group of students had minimum exposure, and D group had maximum exposure. As no students were available who were not using mobiles, control group was not possible. Hence, differences between the groups were studied for sleep quality, stress score, and depression score in medical students. One-way ANOVA was used for multiple group comparisons followed by post hoc Tukey's test. It was observed that no significant differences were observed between the groups (P > 0.05) for sleep and stress scores [Table 2] and [Table 3]. However, for depression scores, a significant difference was observed between Groups A and C (P <.05) [Table 4]. Except for Group A, all other group students had a mild type of depression. Increased depression score indicates that subjects who are more exposed to EMF there are more chances that they will land into depression. There are reports that MP use is associated with anxiety and sleep problems.[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14] However, in the present study, we did not get significant changes for sleep and stress scores. Electromagnetic radiation behaves like a wave as it travels through space. Nonionizing radiation is associated with electrical and biological hazards. The biological effect of electromagnetic fields is to cause dielectric heating, which is a thermal effect. Cells absorb RF energy due to the dielectric loss of tissue resulting in elevation of tissue temperature. The temperature rise can affect the physiologic function of the body, which is sometimes beneficial to health but can also result in adverse health effects.[15],[16],[17] Complex biological effects of weaker nonthermal electromagnetic fields also exist, including weak, extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and modulated RF and microwave fields. Magnetic fields induce circulating currents within the human body. More is strength more is the intensity of the impinging magnetic field due to which nerves and muscles get stimulated, which, in turn, affects biological processes. Weak EM radiations on humans can bring out changes such as biological field patterns, accumulation of energy into the body fluid, and alteration in the functional activities of the cell, which is responsible for changes in melatonin levels, induction of heat shock protein, changes in intracellular calcium concentration, changes in blood–brain-barrier permeability, and also changes in enzyme activity. All these changes are responsible factors for altered brain function. Recent research suggests that EMF exposure brings about changed brain function due to damage to the hippocampus and amygdala.[18],[19] EMF exposure is responsible for oxidative stress (OS). OS is responsible for the disruption of cell functions.[20],[21],[22],[23] Many research workers concluded that MP use does have negative consequences, while others observed no effect. Recent research finding also suggests possible harmful effects.[24],[25],[26] Differences in research findings may be attributed to methodological issues such as type of mobile, duration of exposure, and sample size. Hence, further research is required to confirm the findings and find out the exact mechanism of EMF action leading to various symptoms.

Limitations of the study

For the present research work, exact EMF exposure was not measured; it was assumed that more is the use of mobile more is the exposure to EMF. We have to depend on students' history of the duration of mobile use. True control group (students not using mobile) was not possible because no students were available those they were not using mobiles.


  Conclusion Top


Long-term MP use is associated with mild depression. However, the present research work is not adequate enough to conclude that any long-term use of mobile has harmful effects on human health. Further research on large sample size, the exact measure of EMF exposure, and more duration of EMF exposure is required to reach to the conclusion.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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