As I sit here with my MacBook Air on my lap, reading about this week’s news and blogging on it, a story on toasted skin syndrome arrived. Based on a publication that just came out in the journal Pediatrics, the article describes a 12-year-old child who developed heat-induced changes in the skin caused by chronic exposure to a laptop computer.
Changes in the skin due to chronic heat exposure are well known, often occurring from chronic use of a heating pad or exposure to a wood stove or fireplace.
OK, here’s a reality check:
- First, the news reports about how this can precipitate future skin cancer are probably more than a bit overblown. In the great majority of cases of this condition, all that happens is a color change in the skin.
- Second, at least based on my personal experience, you can have a laptop on your lap for a long, long time before this condition will occur. Just move it around a bit or position it so that the heat doesn’t build up in one spot for too long.
If you want to see an example of skin changes due to heat and learn a bit more about this problem, read Dr. Jeff Benabio’s post at The Derm Blog. Dr. Benabio, an expert on the use of social media and medicine, was a guest recently on the Getting Better Health Care radio program.