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Blackberry addiction 'worse than drugs'

Apparently. It seems unlikely to me, as I live in a less than salubrious part of sarf London and have yet to be offered pure 'push email' on the street. But it also seems to be the concensus – exclusive to all newspapers (to borrow a phrase from Private Eye). 'Experts' are warning that Blackberry email devices can be so addictive, their owners may require Priory-style care, similar to that given to drug-addled celebs.

New Jersey's Rutgers University School carried out the research, which claims the Blackberry is fueling a rise in email and internet 'addiction'. Sufferers are able to allow only a few minutes to pass without checking their mail. The study claims that the gadgets – inevitably nicknamed 'crackberries' – could be seriously damaging to mental health.

Professor Gayle Porter led the study. She told the Daily Mail (presumably because it's read by the wives of people who use such dangerous devices) that the effects of becoming addicted to the devices can be devastating.

She added: "Employers provide programs to help workers with chemical or substance addictions. Addiction to technology can be equally damaging to a worker's mental health."

Well, yes. Except of course that unlike, say, alcohol, even the worse case of Blackberry-addiction is unlikely to lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Sore thumbs I grant you.

Cynical I may be, but I can't help but feel the dirty paw of PR professionals behind such a newspaper-friendly tale. However, it's best to take such health warnings seriously and, like Zammo, just say 'no'. Ditch your handheld and I'll see you down the boozer for 10 pints, a packet of fags and a kebab – the worst addiction of all.

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