Q: There’s a story that charging your phone in your bedroom make you fat.
A: Yes, there is.
A: Because it looked like a good headline.
Q: No, why does it make you fat?
A: Melatonin. The theory is that any light at night time makes your body not produce enough melatonin and that this is bad.
Q: How much more did people who charged their phones in their bedroom end up weighing?
A: There weren’t any people involved.
Q: Ok, so they had mice with cellphones in their bedrooms?
A: Rats. And not cellphones.
Q: Some other light source of a similar brightness?
Q: What, then?
A: They put melatonin in the rats’ drinking water.
Q: So that should make them lose weight. Did it?
A: Not that they reported.
Q: Can you work with me here?
A: They measured the conversion of fat under the rats’ skin from ‘white’ to ‘brown‘, which is theoretically relevant to energy use and perhaps to diabetes and heart disease. It’s interesting research. (abstract)
Q: So it could be relevant, but doesn’t the generalisation seems a bit indirect?
A: Yes, “a bit.”
Q: Do international patterns of cellphone use match patterns of obesity?
A: Not really, but maybe in East Asia they use different chargers or something.
Q: Is the LED on a charger really enough to make a difference?
A: That’s what the story lead implies, but the second paragraph talks about research involving phone screens, laptops, artificial lighting, and street lights, so I’m guessing there’s a bit of a bait and switch going on.
Q: Couldn’t it be enough? I mean, in nature, it would be completely dark at night, like they say.
A: Only up to a point. There was another relevant story today, too.