Laptops lead to 'toasted skin syndrome'

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Blu101, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Blu101 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2010

    "CHICAGO — Have you ever worked on your laptop computer with it sitting on your lap, heating up your legs? If so, you might want to rethink that habit.

    Doing it a lot can lead to "toasted skin syndrome," an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure, according to medical reports.

    In one recent case, a 12-year-old boy developed a sponge-patterned skin discoloration on his left thigh after playing computer games a few hours every day for several months.

    "He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side; however, regardless of that, he did not change its position," Swiss researchers reported in an article published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

    Another case involved a Virginia law student who sought treatment for the mottled discoloration on her leg.

    Dr. Kimberley Salkey, who treated the young woman, was stumped until she learned the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 125 degrees.

    That case, from 2007, is one of 10 laptop-related cases reported in medical journals in the past six years.

    The condition also can be caused by overuse of heating pads and other heat sources that usually aren't hot enough to cause burns. It's generally harmless but can cause permanent skin darkening. In very rare cases, it can cause damage leading to skin cancers, said the Swiss researchers, Drs. Andreas Arnold and Peter Itin from University Hospital Basel. They do not cite any skin cancer cases linked to laptop use, but suggest, to be safe, placing a carrying case or other heat shield under the laptop if you have to hold it in your lap.

    Salkey, an assistant dermatology professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, said that under the microscope, the affected skin resembles skin damaged by long-term sun exposure.

    Major manufacturers including Apple, Hewlett Packard and Dell warn in user manuals against placing laptops on laps or exposed skin for extended periods of time because of the risk for burns.

    A medical report several years ago found that men who used laptops on their laps had elevated scrotum temperatures. If prolonged, that kind of heat can decrease sperm production, which can potentially lead to infertility. Whether laptop use itself can cause that kind of harm hasn't been confirmed.

    In the past, "toasted skin syndrome" has occurred in workers whose jobs require being close to a heat source, including bakers and glass blowers, and, before central heating, in people who huddled near potbellied stoves to stay warm.

    Dr. Anthony J. Mancini, dermatology chief at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said he'd treated a boy who developed the condition from using a heating pad "hours at a time" to soothe a thigh injured in soccer. Mancini said he'd also seen a case caused by a hot water bottle.

    He noted that chronic, prolonged skin inflammation can potentially increase chances for squamous cell skin cancer, which is more aggressive than the most common skin cancer. But Mancini said it's unlikely computer use would lead to cancer since it's so easy to avoid prolonged close skin contact with laptops."
  2. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  3. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    The moral of the story? Don't play video games every day for hours at a time on a laptop in your lap (how could that be remotely comfortable) if you're as much of a poon as that 12 year old.
  4. SlovakApple macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    In the heart of Europe
    Does not bother me since I do not use my laptop on my lap longer than 5 minutes. Then I place it on a table. I plan to have childeren one day. :D
  5. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    I prefer to use my stand, desk and proper chair instead if I was going to use my computer for longer than an hour. It's more comfortable as well. Still, interesting stuff!
  6. Firestar macrumors 68020


    Sep 30, 2010
    221B Baker Street.
    Probably shouldn't put your phone there either. :D
  7. Messy macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    You call it 'toasted skin', i call it a 'geek tan'.

  8. No ice please macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2009
  9. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Penny Arcade was on top of this almost two years ago. They were way ahead of their time.

    Check out the story here. (Possibly NSFW language, otherwise I would post the comic)
  10. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    My MacBook has actually killed all the hair under where I put it since I consistently place it
  11. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    There's a syndrome for everything these days.:rolleyes:

    I heard an ad on the radio the other day suggesting that one may be suffering from "shift work syndrome" if one gets tired at odd times. I mean, really? It's called "not sleeping right".
  12. marshallbedsaul macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    just like oh no my drink is hot what happens if i spill it on myself.
  13. Merthyrboy macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2008
    Parents always say that playing too many games will give you square eyes, I guess that's not the case here

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