I Just Can’t Quit You: Video game addiction is real and professionals aren’t prepared to help

Putting down the joystick isn't enough, there's a deeper issue. When José Antonio Hita Ruiz was a teenager, his home life wasn't all that great. His father was an alcoholic, his mother worked too much. In middle school, he was bullied and his grades suffered, so he dropped out. While his friends left his hometown one by one to study at a nearby university, Hita turned even more to video games as an escape, often spending up to 16 hours a day playing strategy games and simulators at his mom's place. "There was a point where I was completely alone," he tells me over Google Hangouts. Now 24, Hita is doing much better. He's doing volunteer work for local nonprofits near Naples, Italy. During our chat, I hear sounds typical of the youth hostel where he's staying - animated chatter,...

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Are memories reliable? Expert explains how they change more than we realize

Your memory probably isn't as good as you think it is. We rely on our memories not only for sharing stories with friends or learning from our past experiences, but we also use it for crucial things like creating a sense of personal identity. Yet evidence shows that our memory isn't as consistent as we'd like to believe. What's worse, we're often guilty of changing the facts and adding false details to our memories without even realising. To understand a bit about how remembering works, consider the "telephone game" (also known as "Chinese whispers"). In the game, one person quietly whispers a message to the person beside them, who then passes it on to the next person in line, and so on. Each time the message is relayed, some parts might be misheard or misunderstood, others might get innocently altered,...

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The vagus nerve – How inflammation can be controlled by the brain

I read an article yesterday that has me extremely excited about the implications. The article is called "Hacking the Nervous System" by Gaia Vince. In the article, the author describes the experience of a woman who suffered from severe, debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and her eventual treatment with a device which minimized inflammation by simply stimulating the vagus nerve. What this means is that by activating the vagus nerve which works through the parasympathetic nervous system we can greatly influence inflammation and the immune system. The role of the brain on body inflammation can be profound. If you suffer from digestive complaints, high blood pressure, depression or any inflammatory condition, please read on. Let me explain the possible implications step by step. ...

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Controversial treatment gives transfusions of ‘young blood’ from teenagers to reverse process of aging

Could the secret to eternal youth be found in blood transfusions from young people? Some claim that transfusions with "young blood" from teenagers can reverse the aging process. It's being tested in patients over the age of 35 as part of a clinical trial called ambrosia, where people paid $8,000 to get the rich growth factors found in bloods plasma platelets. "There are pretty much people from most states, people from overseas, people from Europe and Australia," Dr. Jesse Karmazin said. Results of the trial have not been published. Dr. Karmazin, who plans to open a business selling young blood, says patients who've had it say they feel amazing, and he says he's seen evidence of reversing the aging process in rats. ...

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Sometimes it’s better to deflect those awkward Christmas conversations

Christmas would be great if we just agreed not to talk at all Christmas holidays can be wonderful - time off work, eating yourself into a stupor, drinking for no reason - but it's also when you're most likely to run into awkward conversations about politics, your love life, or everything in between. "Everyone is tired, and it's the end of the year, and we're quite emotional," says clinical psychologist and columnist Linda Blair. "If you're spending the holidays with people you're related to - you know, you can love people without liking them - and it's busy and you're travelling, everything can just get aggravated." It may sound dire (and very familiar), and sometimes you just want to avoid the questions, but there are a couple of key tricks that you can use to keep conversation from going downhill...

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