Your Smartphone, Your Health and Your IQ

Contents of this section are compiled by Kaveh Farrokh (Ph.D.), Counsellor & Learning Specialist at Langara College Counselling Department.


This article examines the latest research findings (up to Spring 2022) with respect to the impact of WiFi-based technology (notably smartphones and social media platforms). The latest findings with respect to the detrimental effects of Wifi-based social media technology upon mental wellness have been reported in the March 2020 edition of the European Scientific Journal by Sonu Vatsa, Mrigakshika Sharma and Lali Koptonashvili of the European University in Tbilisi, Georgia:

There is no doubt that various social media platforms have transformed the new generation. … social media has made a lot of positive impacts on the human life, it has a lot of negative impacts on all age group as well, especially the youth. Addiction of social media is in trend and is a major contributing factor to rapid increase in several mental health issues.

… this study surveyed the extent to which the mental health is being hampered by excessive use of social media. This study … conducted in … India, Russia, Nepal, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.

… From the study conducted, the effects of the social media are not only taking toll on the social life, life style, and physical heath of the users but, also over their mental health. There are urgent needs to take immediate remedial measures to counter this growing menace in the society.”

Wifi Technology: Research Findings From 1971!

The basis of Wifi technology is not new or recent and can be traced as far back (at least) to the early 1960s. Technically, these technologies are more correctly as microwave technology. Laypersons often assume that the “Microwave” oven and Wifi are distinct technologies when in fact these are both derived from the same technology.

The impact of microwave (or Wifi-based) technologies was first scientifically investigated in 1971 by the United States NMRI (Naval Medical Research Institute). The conclusions of the NMRI report were remarkable (if not alarming) with respect to the impact of these technologies on physical health and the central nervous system (the brain and the nerves that synapse throughout the body).

Examples of impacts on physical health due to prolonged exposure to microwaves or “Wifi” are the following:

  • Heating of internal organs
  • Change in blood flow
  • Lungs
  • Heart (EKG changes)
  • Liver
  • Digestive system
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Damage to reproductive organs
  • Dehydration

Examples of impacts on the central nervous sytem due to prolonged exposure to microwaves or “Wifi” are the following:

  • Change in cerebral blood flow
  • Change to cerebral cortex (esp. Diencephalon)
  • Neurasthenia (general “bad” feeling)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Decreased focus and concentration
  • Decreased Learning and Memory performance
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

The 1971 NMRI report essentially provided information on the impact of modern-day Wifi-based devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) on wellness and health. Note that what is being discussed here are the physical impacts of microwaves (or “wifi”) as opposed to addiction to devices due to social media, etc.

What is SmartPhone Addiction?

Smartphone addiction is characterized by the phenomenon of Nomophobia, which is the fear of being left without access to one’s mobile phone. Central to a person’s smartphone addiction is their struggling with impulse control. This involves being pushed by and/or associated with Internet Addiction Disorder.

Interestingly it often is not the phone/tablet (wif-based) device that is cause of the addiction and/or compulsive behaviour. The primary factors behind the addiction are often:

  • Apps
  • Social media
  • Various online worlds
  • Games/Gaming

The above are examples of Online Addictions. These can be especially maladaptive as they can lead into compulsive behaviours with respect to:

  • Online Gaming
  • Online Gambling
  • Online Stock trading
  • Online shopping – incl. eBay (online auctions)

Persons engaged with these types of addictions often engage in these behaviours at work and school by staying up late for hours virtually non-stop (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, etc.). Negative consequences of these addictions include damage to social reputation, job loss, financial ruin and in the case of education poor academic performance and even suspension from one’s educational institution. As a result the major devastating impact of Smartphone Addiction is the distancing by the person from their life activities (often these are activities that they enjoy and value). Put simply, a person’s compulsive use of their smartphone and Internet (videos, web surfing, news, games, etc.) can lead them into the following maladaptive behaviors:

  • Deteriorated work ethic and lower work productivity
  • Decreased performance in school (lowered GPA, missing deadlines, procrastination, etc.)
  • Isolation for long periods of time
  • Distancing from intimate and close friendships
  • Deterioration of Various Social Pursuits
  • Decrease or elimination of Exercise
  • Neglect of ones Hobbies and other activities that one enjoys

The Frontiers of Human Neuroscience journal reported in its August 2013 edition of the role of the Nucleus Accumbens (which forms a part of brain’s “Reward Circuit” in the person’s addiction to social media, notably Facebook.

Gains in FB reputation related to increased neural and Dopamine activity in the left Nucleus Accumbens (located in Brodman area 34). The neurotransmitter Dopamine (which is involved in one’s sense of reward in activities) play a key role in the brain’s reward circuitry. Dopamine has been found to play a key role in addiction to Wifi-based Devices. For example, as noted by addiction expert Dr. Anna Lembke (interview with Jamie Waters of the Guardian, “Constant Craving: How Digital media has Turned Us All Into Dopamine Addicts“, August 22, 2021):

“…our smartphones are making us dopamine junkies, with each swipe, like and tweet feeding our habit.”

Researchers have found that there is a stress response when we actively ignore messages from our phones, especially when we hear that “Beep” from our phone (incoming call, text message, etc.). Put simply, if left unchecked, the reward system of the brain can be changed by Wifi-based devices. This means that we actually get surges of dopamine for example in response to the “Likes” we may get in Facebook. Put simply, the brain can become addicted and will change (or “rewire” itself) in order to seek more dopamine surges in response to “Likes” on Facebook, messages on one’s smartphone, etc.

It is perhaps no exaggeration to observe that Apps used by Social Media utilize very similar methods to those used by Casinos in order to keep a person “Addicted” (i.e. getting one to constantly checking their “Likes”, feeds, etc.).

Wifi-Device Addiction: Impact on Your Mental Health

There have been a number of reports on links between excess smartphone use (notably with respect to social media and other types of on-line involvement) and serious mental health issues. A number of summary points with respect to the mental health impacts of excess smartphone use include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm (esp. cutting)
  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • Reduction of academic and career ambitions
  • Lack of willingness to engage in personal friendships and relationships

The Newsweek article penned by Adam Piore “Scientists’ Understanding of Anxiety is Radically Evolving—But How Long Will it Take for Treatments to Catch Up?” (September 5, 2019) reported the following with respect to the current state of mental health among young post-secondary students:

“College graduates are the most anxious of all, surveys suggest. Last fall, members of Generation Z (those born after 1996) reported the worst mental health of any generation, with 91 percent saying they had felt physical or emotional symptoms associated with stress, such as depression or anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of college students said they had experienced “overwhelming anxiety” during the previous year, and the number of students who visited campus counseling centers increased by more than 30 percent between the fall of 2009 and 2015.”

The article then outlines the (maladaptive) contribution by wifi-based devices to mental wellness:

Many researchers think that the internet and social media have contributed to this trend. “The constant access to news—and the constant warnings on news sites—is incredibly stressful and can create a sense of panic,” says Jenny Taitz, a Los Angeles-based author and therapist who specializes in treating anxiety. “There’s a shooting here, there is this break-in there, all this information that we have access to puts danger at the forefront of our mind. How can you relax when you have access to all the bad news that’s happening right at your fingertips?” … neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux … conceded that we live in “a particularly complex time.” He added: “Other generations didn’t have the internet, which has turned out to be one of the worst things that’s ever happened to us as a species.” …”

Below are a number of academic research studies that have investigated the links between mental wellness and smartphone/social media use. While a full comprehensive overview of all such research studies are beyond the scope of this article, the examples discussed below serve to illustrate the significance of the relationship between smartphone/social media use and mental wellness.

Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU (Source: Tedx on YouTube).

A 2019 study by Twenge et al published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology examined a (very) large sample of 400,000 Young Adults (18+ yrs) and the impacts upon them with respect to excess smartphone use and social media involvement. The results found that there has been a 63% increase in depression symptoms among young adults. The researchers identified two significant factors as having played a major role in the rise of depressive symptoms in the sample studies: excessive use of the Smartphone and (excessive involvement with) Social Media. The researchers concluded based on their analyses, that the more time the person (young adult) spends on their smartphone and social media, the more they are at risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.

A two-year study by Holly B. Shakya (Assistant Professor, UC San Diego) and Nicholas A. Christakis (Professor, Yale University) published in the Harvard Business Review (April 10, 2017) examined the impacts of Facebook usage upon the wellness  (mental, physical and BMI [body-mass index]) of 5,208 adults. As reported by Shakya and Christakis:

Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.”

Shakya and Christakis  note that Facebook is an illusory social environment which creates the impression that others are happier and more successful than we are. As noted by the researchers:

“Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison”

That same negative self-comparison has a profound negative impact upon mental wellness. Proponents of Facebook (and social media platforms in general) will often argue that Facebook helps us to connect with friends, family and long-lost acquaintances, however research has repeatedly demonstrated that real face to face social connections are markedly superior (in terms of wellness) in comparison to their virtual counterparts. Not only do virtual social media platforms such as Facebook fail to compensate for real-world social interactions, but as noted by Minda Zetlin in reference to the Shakya-Chritakis Study:

“… these results make clear … they [virtual social media platforms such as Facebook] have the opposite effect. In addition to negative self-comparison, the researchers note, increased use of Facebook and other social media tends to take up a lot of people’s time and can create an illusion of closeness. To the extent that time spent on Facebook takes you away from real-world social gatherings, you lose the benefit of being in a community, the researchers say. The same is likely true if you’re at a gathering in body, but your eyes and mind are locked on your smartphone, checking out your friends’ latest posts

The implications of the Shakya-Christakis study are all too clear: limit your use of social media platforms such as Facebook and your smartphone in order to enhance your mental wellness.

A 2016 study by Lin et al. published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety examined a sample of 1787 Young Adults (aged 19-32) with respect to their Social Media/on-line profile use in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Google Plus, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn). The researchers found the excess use of all of the aforementioned social media sites are significantly associated with increased depression. More specifically the researchers found that individuals engaged in the highest number of social media site visits per week were at significantly increased odds of depression.

The trend discovered in the studies of Twenge et al. and Lin et al. are consistent with results found among students outside of the North American and West European venues. An example is the 2014 Abdulahi et al study published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science which examined Facebook use among a wide range of international students in Malaysia (ages 16-30 at a wide educational range from high school to Masters level). The researchers discovered a negative statistical relationship between social network sites (Facebook) and mental wellness. This means that the more these students used Facebook the more likely were their chances that their mental wellness was imperiled. The researchers concluded that major concerns are to be raised with respect to excess Facebook use and its consequences for mental wellness among international students.

Wifi-Device Addiction: Impact on Your Physical Health and Your Fitness

There are a number of impacts on physical health with respect to excess wifi-device use. One of these is disrupted sleep – a factor reported in 2016 by the Science daily outlet:

Young adults who spend a lot of time on social media during the day or check it frequently throughout the week are more likely to suffer sleep disturbances than peers who use social media less, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

For more information on the mental, physical and academic impacts of disrupted sleep consult:

It is also notable that a key impact of excess wifi-device use is the decline in physical fitness due to lessening of physical activity and exercise. A number of studies have researched the links between physical fitness and mental wellness (see in references: Hertzog et al., 2015; Bassuk, et al., 2018; Southwick & Charney, 2018 and Pontzor, 2019).

Many of these recent studies have explored how blood flow and oxygen to the brain decline as a result of diminished physical activity and exercise. The Brain in particular is significantly impacted: specifically, the Neocortex, Limbic System and Basal Ganglia. The Neurochemical dysregulation of the brain is expressed as follows:

  • Increase in levels of Cortisol (this is the Stress hormone)
  • Decreased levels of Serotonin (a biochemical implicated in one’s sense of Peace, Optimism and Serenity)
  • Decreased levels of Dopamine (this is “reward’ hormone when we experience profound satisfaction with our tasks). Recall however of the discussion earlier that Wifi-based addiction causes an imbalanced response as we become excessively “hooked” on social media, checking messages, texting, etc.

The impact upon the brain and associated neurochemical dysregulation due to the lack of physical exercise results in two major impacts:

A] Significant increase in emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, boredom and overall Neurasthenia

B] Substantial cognitive processing deficits with respect to attention, decision making, planning abilities, as well as learning and memory.

Pontzor’s recent study (2019) which examined the evolutionary differences between humans and apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, chimpanzees) has found that the latter group have no need to vigorously exercise. This is in contrast to humans whose need for exercise is literally essential – not optional. Put simply, humans have specifically evolved to exercise and were not meant to be physically inactive for long periods of time. Pontzor notes that persons who choose to stay put and remain engaged with online venues for very long periods of time can potentially shorten lifespan. Simply put: exercise is essential for mental and physical wellness. For more on this topic see:

Wifi-Device Addiction: Impact on Your Personal Safety

A disturbing development due to excess wifi-device (especially smartphone) use is the growing threat to personal (physical) safety. There has been an alarming rise of reports of persons getting into serious accidents such as falling into street holes, getting run over by traffic, etc. due to persons simply not paying attention to the real-world environment around them. As reported by Gazzaley & Rosen (2017):

According to one report in Scientific American, data from a sample of 100 US hospitals found that while in 2004 an estimated nationwide 559 people had hurt themselves by walking into a stationary object while texting, by 2010 that number topped 1,500, and estimates by the study authors predicted the number of injuries would double between 2010 and 2015” (cited also from: This Is How To Increase Your Attention Span: 5 Secrets From Neuroscience.

Wifi-Device Addiction: Impact on Your IQ & Learning

As reported in 2013 by Gerald Crabtree (a geneticist at Stanford University) human emotional and intellectual fitness have been steadily declining largely due to the advent of modern technologies. The question then is what is causing this decline in our intellectual and emotional management capabilities? While there are most likely multiple factors, a number of studies suggest that excessive use of social media (i.e. Facebook), internet-based communications (i.e. e-mail) and texting can reduce persons’ IQ scores.

Glenn Wilson, from King’s College London University for example, discovered as far back as 2005 that excessive e-mailing and texting reduces IQ. Among his findings was that workplace employees who obsessively check their phone calls, emails and text messages throughout the day can suffer an IQ drop of up to 10 points. As noted in a 2005 CNN news report E-mails ‘hurt IQ more than pot’”:

“Workers distracted by phone calls, e-mails and text messages suffer a greater loss of IQ than a person smoking marijuana, a British study shows.“

As further averred in the Guardian news report “Emails ‘pose threat to IQ’with respect to Wilson’s study:

“Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached “startling” levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip….it is a recipe for muddled thinking and poor performance”

The Wilson studies have been corroborated more recently by studies conducted jointly by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Microsoft. The article “Texting, Social Networking and other Media use Linked to Poor Academic Performance” published in the Science Daily reported the following in 2013:

“The widespread use of media among college students — from texting to chatting on cell phones to posting status updates on Facebook — may be taking an academic toll, say researchers with The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.”

While too numerous to tabulate in the span of a single article, there are several studies that have investigated the impact(s) of Social Media/Web use upon academic performance. One example is the aforementioned 2014 study in the International Journal of Business and Social Science which investigated a broad range of international students (ages 16-30; educational level ranging from high school to Masters level). This study investigated the total amount of time participants spent on Facebook (as well as social media venues, on-line platforms, etc.) and how this impacted their academic performance. The results were remarkable: student GPA decreases as a function of time they spend on Facebook, social media and the web in general. Put simply, time spent on social network sites was shown to negatively impact academic performance.

Another key challenge is the use of smartphones during class and the negative impact of this upon academic performance. As reported by Alison Pearce Stevens in Science News for Students in 2018:

“In classes where devices are allowed, students do worse on exams …”

  • Link:
  • Source: Science News for Students
  • Date: September 10, 2018

The above article also reports of studies at Rutgers University that have discovered that even those students who are not using smartphones, laptops, etc. are (nevertheless) negatively affected because they are being distracted by their fellow students who were actually using the devices! This same distraction can then lead to lower marks. Therefore, not only is the person texting, etc. during class damaging their own academic performance but also that of fellow students who are not engaging in smartphone use etc. during class.

As noted by Scott Jaschik in his 2013 article in the Inside Higher Ed venue entitled “Texting in Class:

“A new study has found that more than 90 percent of students admit to using their devices for non-class activities during class times. Less than 8 percent said that they never do so. The study is based on a survey of 777 students at six colleges and universities. Barney McCoy, associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, conducted the study and The Journal of Media Education has just published the results. Most of the students were undergraduates, and graduate students were less likely to use their devices for non-class purposes. Undergraduates reporting using their devices for non-class purposes 11 times a day, on average, compared to 4 times a day for graduate students.”

Our Brains simply do not work well when we are so distracted with texting, checking social media (FB, Instagram, etc.), playing on-line games or engaging in any other on-line venue. And as discovered in the Rutgers university study, uses of devices also degrades the concentration of fellow students who are not using the devices. The major impact of these (electronic) distractions is that these are constantly interrupting our short-term and long-term memory processing which means that our ability for focus, concentration, learning and memory become degraded.

Gazzaley & Rosen (2017) report of studies that have found that students often cannot go for 6 minutes without checking Facebook or other types of social media. In practice as the researchers note, modern college students are often able to focus on their learning task or classroom for an average of only for three to five minutes—before self-interrupting their studying (or class participation) to switch into their devices.

Excessive usage of Google and search engines in general also undermines:

  • Memory and recall
  • Critical Thinking
  • Independent Thought
  • Researching abilities
  • Less reading of Books, Textbooks, etc.
  • Creativity
  • Artistic ability

It is highly recommended that before you search an item in Google for example to try and recall and/or figure it out yourself first before jumping into the on-line platform. Interestingly the total number of Google searches in 2012 were reported as having been 3.3 billion times/day with this figure jumping to 5.5 billion times/day in 2019. The overall impact has been significant in that human attention spans have on average shrunk from 12 seconds (in 2000) to just 8 seconds at the time of writing … making this technically one second less than that of a goldfish! This has resulted in a phenomenon known as Digital Amensia: we now forget information if we think that we can extract it from a Wifi-based device.

Finally as reported in the Harvard University Blog (2019), screen time can have a monumental impact on the structure of matter inside human brain. This can lead to:

[1] Shrinking Grey Matter – which is the essence of  “G” factor intelligence

[2] Diminishing of White Matter’s ability to communicate essential information between neurons and neuronal (brain regions) and to other parts of body

The end result is degraded cognitive performance, lower IQ and lower GPA.

The Harvard University Blog also cites the research of Eric Fransen (Memory Expert, University of Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology) who has found that mentally juggling between different platforms and on-line chats results in the following:

[1] Slowing down of the brain – sometimes up to around half-hour after having switched from a platform and/or conversation into another

[2] An information overload effect in that we have a lot of useless information cluttering our minds which impairs our ability to recall information effectively

Wifi-Device Addiction: Impact on Your Social Fitness

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges being faced with respect to wifi-based devices (esp. smartphones) is the impact this had on human relations. Put simply, an increasing number of persons are now preferring virtual reality relationships to actual (live person to live person) relationships. These virtual reality relationships involve the familiar social networking venues (like our “Friends” in Facebook), messaging and texting (as opposed to actually calling the person) and even dating apps. It would appear that the appeal of virtual (or online) relationships are as follows:

[1] the person no longer needs to adjust to the (human) processes of real-world relationships and dynamic-two way (human) communications

[2] Dating apps eliminate the “old fashioned” human process of developing long-term friendships though real-world relationships.

While more studies are required in this domain, it may safe to surmise that virtual Relationships have become more important than real human relationships for a large proportion of the population as a whole. However, the low level or lack of real human relationships can be maladaptive for mental wellness.

How social media makes us unsocial | Allison Graham | TEDxSMU (Source: Tedx on YouTube).

Equally (if not more) alarming has been the steady decline in human empathy. The 2019 report “Decline in human empathy Creates Global Risks in the ‘Age of Anger’” published in The Financial Times reported the following alarming trends:

“Is technology responsible for a decline in human empathy? One study of American students published in Personality and Social Psychology Review revealed that levels of empathy in this demographic fell by 48 percent between 1979 and 2009. … Possible causes of the growing empathy gap include increasing materialism, changing parenting methods and the digital echo chamber, in which people anchor themselves in close-knit groups of like-minded people …For example, researchers have found that the matching processes used on dating platforms can also weaken social bonds.”

The Global Risks Assessments in Zurich, Switzerland has also noted the following in its 2019 report:

“Complex transformations— societal, technological and work-related—are having a profound impact on people’s lived experiences. A common theme is psychological stress related to a feeling of lack of control in the face of uncertainty. These issues deserve more attention: declining psychological and emotional well-being is a risk in itself—and one that also affects the wider global risks landscape, notably via impacts on social cohesion and politics.”

In essence three major change factors (societal, work and technology) are having profound impacts on mental wellness, with the role of wifi-based devices (a key aspect of modern-day technological changes) being highly influential.

Un-Plugging for Your Happiness

One of the key approaches towards an adaptive approach with respect to wifi-based technology is to literally un-plug oneself more often. A 2018 article by Ferris Jabr provides reports of recent psychology research that has found that mental downtime (un-plugging) is vital for mental and physical wellness – as well as increasing our productivity. Jabr also notes of the phenomenon of “Tele-pressure” – in which one feels constant pressure to remain “connected” even when one is away on vacation, has time off, etc.

The aforementioned researcher Fransen talks of the need for “Memory Downtime” which means that we need to free up our minds from compulsively checking our Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts in order to give our minds rest.

There are in fact great mental and physical health benefits from detaching from that sense of “Tele-pressure”. This of course does not mean that one totally gives up the smartphone, wifi-devices, etc. and return to the 1970s rotary phone! What is being discussed here is the notion of balance – using the devices when they are necessary and practical versus becoming dominated by these technologies. Ultimately this is case of locus of control where you determine what is most adaptable for your wellness and success.

Jabr notes of studies with persons who reduced their dependence on wifi-based devices by engaging in more meditation and yoga. Interestingly these studies have found that not only do meditation and yoga help decrease overall stress, but that these also result in increased productivity of 47-62 minutes per week!

A 2017 article by Srinivas Rao entitled “Starting Your Day on the Internet Is Damaging Your Brain highlights the importance of adaptively managing the first 3 hours of your day. As noted by Rao, the first 3 hours of our day dictates not only how the rest of our day turn out but also has a major impact on our long-term future as well. Put simply, your day begins with the first time or activity you decide to place in your brain. If one decides to begin the day by focusing on “junk food” for the brain such as social media, distracting apps, etc. we then inhibit our flow for the rest of the day. This in turn prevents us from accomplishing deep and meaningful work for the rest of that day. Rao notes that healthy brain habits for starting the day include activities such as exercise, meditation, reading (an actual book), journaling, or any deep, productive and health activity. Starting the day in this manner then allows the person to get into a positive flow. This then lead to the accomplishment of several meaningful tasks during the day.

Bassuk et al. discuss recent research on the mental health benefits of exercise conducted at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The research has found that physical exercise helps to fend off anxiety-fear as well as depression-type symptoms. Especially effective is cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training. Especially interesting is that physical exercise boosts dopamine (the healthy sense of reward one gets when engaged with tasks) as well as serotonin (the sense of hope, optimism, serenity) just as it suppresses cortisol (the stress hormone).

Another interesting recent research find is that exercise enhances BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which promotes the growth and repair of Neurons. It is thus no exaggeration to state that physical exercise can make the person smarter. Exercise can help retain memory and learning capabilities over the longer term as people age – exercise may even be an effective tool against Alzheimer’s disease. Research findings have found that moderate intensity aerobic workouts such as swimming, running, cycling, etc. (on average three days per week for a year) actually increases the size of the hippocampus (region of limbic system in the brain which is involved in memory-learning building as well as stress management). Exercise actually benefits the entire cortex and nervous system, notably the basal ganglia and limbic system in particular. As a result, physical exercise greatly improves attention, focus, decision making, planning and memory – the very same factors that help us to better manage and reduce stress.


There are a number of on-line resources that can assist in helping reduce dependence on smartphone and wifi-based devices:


Abdulahi, A., Samadi, B., & Gharleghi, B. (2014). A study on the negative effects of social networking sites such as Facebook among Asia Pacific University Scholars in Malaysia. International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol.5, No.10, Sept., pp.133-145.

Bassuk, S.S., Church, T.S., & Manson, J.E. (2018). Why exercise works magic. Scientific American Mind: Behavior-Brain Science-Insights (Special Collector’s Edition), Volume 27, Number 1, Spring, pp.80-83.

Crabtree, G.R. (2013). Our Fragile Intellect. Trends in Genetics, January, Vol. 29 (No.1), pp. 1-4.

Gazzaley, A., & Rosen, L.D. (2017). The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World. The MIT Press.

Hertzog, C., Kramer, A.F., Wilson, R.S., and Lindenberger, U. (2015). Fit Body, Fit Mind? Scientific American Mind: Behavior-Brain Science-Insights (Special Collector’s Edition), Volume 23, Number 4, Winter, pp.32-39.

Jabr, F. (2018). How to succeed at work: Give me a break. Scientific American Mind, Volume 27, Number 1, April, pp. 22-27.

Lin, Y.L., Sidani, J.E., Shensa, A., Radovic, A., Miller, E., Colditz, J.B., Hoffman, B.L., Giles, L.M., & Primack, B.A. (2016). Depression and Anxiety, vol.33, no.3, pp.323-331.

Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group (2019). The Global Risks Report 2019 14th Edition. World Economic Forum, Zurich: Switzerland.

NMRI (Naval Medical Research Institute) (1971). Bibliography of reported biological phenomena (‘effects”) and clinical manifestations attributed to microwave and radio-frequency radiation. National Technical Information Service, Project MF12.524.015-0004B, Report No.2 Revised, National Naval Medical Center.

Pontzor, H. (2019). Evolved to exercise. Scientific American, Volume 320, Number 1, pp. 23-29.

Southwick, S.M., & Charney, D.S. (2018). Ready for anything. Scientific American Mind: Behavior-Brain Science-Insights (Special Collector’s Edition), Volume 27, Number 1, Spring, pp.4-13.

Stickgold, R. (2017). Sleep on it! Scientific American Mind: Mysteries of the Mind (Special Collector’s Edition), Volume 26, Number 3, Summer, pp.54-59.

Twenge, J.M., Joiner, T.E., Duffy, M.E., Cooper, A.B., & Binau, S.G. (2019). Age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes in a nationally representative dataset, 2005-2017. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol.128, no.3, pp.185-199.

Vatsa, S., Sharma, M., & Koptonashvili, L. (2020). Social media and its effects on mental health. European Scientific Journal, March, Vol.16, No.8 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e – ISSN 1857- 7431.

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