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Don't Walk and Talk, Scientists Warn

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Sydney (dpa) - Because speech and breathing are controlled by the same part of the brain, failure to focus on one or the other could lead to injury, Australian scientists warned Friday.

Yes, you shouldn't walk and talk at the same time because any break in the stream of signals from your central nervous system could result in your stomach muscles failing to properly protect your spine.

The result of this hiatus could be a spasm of back pain or even a nasty fall, a gathering in Melbourne of members of the Australian Neuroscience Society was told.

Queensland University's Paul Hodges said the conclusions had come from monitoring the tummy muscles of volunteers walking on treadmills.

Everything was fine until the walkers started to chat. Then, researchers detected less stomach muscle activity and so predicted an increased risk of accident.

Associate Professor Hodges warned his colleagues: "If you have to talk while you walk, we would say either keep in short or take your time".

He noted that one consequence of the worldwide proliferation of mobile phones could be a generation bearing the scars of injuries brought on by failing to appreciate the dangers of talking while walking.

Copyright 2004 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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