Feeds

Research links laptops to 'toasted skin syndrome'

How to avoid the mottled moron look

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

In the latest installment of "The Chronicles of Duh...", researchers from the University of Basel, Switzerland, have discovered that letting a hot laptop rest on your thighs for hours at a time isn't good for you.

Their research was published by the journal Pediatrics in an article enticingly entitled "Laptop Computer–Induced Erythema ab Igne in a Child and Review of the Literature".

For the illatinate among you, "erythema ab igne" roughly translates to "skin reddening from fire", and is more-specifically defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a "reticular, pigmented, sometimes telangiectatic dermatosis."

In the vulgate, however, this uncomfortable but not dangerous skin condition is best known as "toasted skin syndrome". (Yum, pass me some of that toasted skin along with them pork rinds...)

The researchers' unfortunately toasted subject was a 12-year-old boy who developed the splotchy skin characteristic of toasted skin syndrome after playing games on his laptop for several hours per day for several months.

"Where were this kid's parents?", we find ourselves asking.

From the researchers' description, it seems that their subject was about as inattentive as his mom and pop: "He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side," they write, "however, regardless of that, he did not change its position."

Although the young fellow may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, his inattention to his own well-being is unlikely to have caused him permanent damage. Toasted skin syndrome, the researchers write, may cause skin to darken — perhaps permanenetly — but it's highly unlikely to lead to such nastiness as skin cancer.

That said, any messing around with your body's largest organ is not a good idea — it's better to be safe than sorry. And, for that matter, it's better to be comfortable than toasted.

And so to prevent the dreaded TSS, Dr. Reg prescribes pyrolytic prophylaxis — in other words, laptop cooling.

The simplest way to cool your laptop is to put some space between its bottom and your thighs — or, for that matter, your desk. You can, of course, spread your legs and try to balance it between your thighs, but that's both dorky and dangerous.

And don't, fer chrissake, simply put a pillow on top of your lap to insulate your thighs. All that'll do is allow heat to build up inside your laptop's case and eventually fry your system. You'll avoid a nasty case of reticular, pigmented, sometimes telangiectatic dermatosis, but it'll cost you.

The most straightforward way to avoid turning your thighs into pork rinds is a passive cooler, such as the compact Xpad Slim or a full-on lap-straddling workspace like LapWork's Laptop Desk line.

One exceptionally convenient passive-cooling method can be found in the ThermaPak HeatShift line. These roll-up pads use a chemical reaction to suck heat from your laptop — which is great for a couple of hours, but after their chemical cooling concoction absorbs its allotment of calories, the pad becomes merely the dreaded Pillow of Doom mentioned earlier.

So if you're a hard-core laptop gamer who pushes your machine for hours on end — and if you don't mind a bit of noise — get a fan-based cooler such as the simple but more-than-serviceable Antec Notebook Cooler 200 or Notebook Cooler to Go, or a Cadillac cooler such as Zalman's ZM-NC2500 Plus and ZM-NC3000U, or Nzxt's Cryo LX.

After all, although erythema ab igne toasted skin syndrome may not be all that dangerous, those splotchy, mottled thighs will, however, brand you as someone too dumb to take a hot laptop off of your lap. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?