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Toasted skin syndrome: Laptops burning skin

A 12-year-old boy has "toasted skin syndrome" on his left leg after spending a great deal of time playing video games with a laptop resting on his legs. (Pediatrics/AP/HO)

Today's disturbing technological-medical lesson: Laptops should not stay in the lap for very long.

"Toasted skin syndrome" is what Swiss researchers have dubbed a mottled-skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure.

Researchers at University Hospital Basel chronicle the case of a 12-year-old boy in a study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The boy kept the computer on his leg for hours while playing video games. Ten other patients have reported the syndrome, but the researches said there were probably no major medical consequences aside from the stained skin.

The Awl Web site has a good rule of thumb for laptop users: "Don't keep it on your lap past the point where you feel like your thighs are on fire."

Coming on the heels of the Las Vegas "Death Ray" hotel that scorches people's skin, I'm planning on just staying away from all things metal.

Update: An astute reader has pointed out that the hotel is made of glass and most laptops made of plastic. So my poorly told joke is not only poorly told, but also incorrect. I'm now planning to move to the forest to avoid any material other than wood. Though I suppose that burns too. Ah, forget it.

By Melissa Bell  | October 4, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
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And surfing whilst naked is right out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 4, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I realize you were trying to be funny/clever with your "all things metal" comment, but the "Las Vegas Death Ray" was due to reflective glass and laptops are generally plastic. Try again.

Posted by: shershon1 | October 4, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Holy #*#*!!! I think I might have this on my left lower thigh. I'm usually wearing pants/jeans/pajamas when I have the laptop in my lap but still I too have felt the heat.

I hope it eventually fades away.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | October 4, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to these researcher, who have discovered that keeping something hot on your lap will darken your skin.

The child, referenced in the news report, is a 12 year-old boy who developed toasted skin syndrome "after playing computer games a few hours every day for several months." Anyone else think that this child has a more serious problem then TST?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 4, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

EnRoute ChillCase by Fabrique Ltd.

We are a major computer carry manufacturer who launched this line of products SPECIFICALLY due to the threat of "Toasted Skin Syndrome"

Please follow our link to learn more about "The ChillCase", a notebook carrying case with an integrated cooling fan
Also, please find the link below for instructional/ How-It-Works information on the ChillCase:
We are also proud to be featured on Laptop Magazine Online:

Posted by: mwhalen1 | October 5, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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