From playing a solo game of cards to challenging a competitor on the other side of the world to a spelling contest, there are many way to pass the time – but it seems gaming is more than just a hobby. Extensive research has shown that such activities can improve your mental health in a variety of useful and long-lasting ways, so let’s delve deeper into this fascinating issue.
Bingo for the brain
Believe it or not your brain can become lazy and sluggish if it’s not constantly used and challenged – just like other parts of your body.
Through various studies, the University of Southampton recently revealed that bingo can effectively slow and counter age-related decline in our thinking capacity. This number-based gamed – centred around luck but requiring great concentration and perception – has also been found to have a positive impact on memory and mental speed, improving our ability to scan information accurately.
Furthermore, regular bingo is believed to improve the functional performance of the brain by over 2.5 per cent, so it’s well worth taking your chances (and perhaps winning some money in the process). With online bingo games readily available you don’t even have to lug yourself down to the local village hall and can simply compete against others from the comfort of your own home.
So, if you want to remain sharp and focussed throughout life, why not check out a site such as Wink Bingo and enhance your cognition skills while having fun at the same time?
Video games for reaction times
If bingo doesn’t take your fancy, fear not, as video games of all kinds can also have a positive impact on your mental health. That’s right, battling zombies, chasing baddies or simply driving the car of your dreams can actually improve your reaction times by up to 25 per cent.
In fact, scientists in Poland have discovered that playing action video games trains people to make the right decisions faster as they develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them. These skills can then be transferred into real life and assist with everyday activities such as multitasking, driving, reading small print, keeping track of friends in a crowd and general navigation.
Gaming for improved spatial attention
On a similar thread, meticulous studies have been carried out to decipher how gaming effects spatial cognition and the results are extremely interesting. In short, those who enjoy playing various video games become much better at singling out targets in a field of distractions than those who have never or rarely played. Gamers were also found to process a stream of briefly presented objects more efficiently and could track a number of objects at once – skills that would undoubtedly prove useful in real life scenarios such as driving.
When it comes to playing games online there’s often a lot of negative press, such as it can lead to violence or obesity, however, it seems that enjoying the games you love can actually have a positive impact on your mental health.
In an age where recreational marijuana use is legal in several states and medicinal marijuana use is becoming more prevalent, many parents are concerned about their teens getting access to weed. Naturally, you don’t want your child to break the law and use weed as a minor, even in places where marijuana use is legal, but how big of a worry should cannabis use really be?
The truth is that there are other habits that are far more harmful for teens, including:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 11 percent of all alcohol in the U.S. is consumed by people who are underage, and that 90 percent of alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21 takes place as a part of binge drinking. Each year, more than 4,000 underage people die due to drinking and more than 189,000 teens end up in emergency rooms due to alcohol.
Some known health risks of drinking include:
- Memory problems
- Brain developmental delays
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
- Digestive diseases
- Cancer of the breast, digestive system, and liver
- Liver disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal
Studies have found that alcohol consumption also lowers teens’ inhibitions and causes them to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Alcohol has been linked to violence and homicide and to unprotected sexual activity in teens.
While smoking weed exposes the body to toxins, smoking cigarettes is still a bigger health concern among teens. Some of the potential effects of smoking include:
- Addiction to nicotine
- Hearing loss
- Night blindness
- Dental cavities
- Gum disease
- Throat cancer
- Premature wrinkling
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
- Lung disease
- Many kinds of cancer, including lung cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hormonal imbalances
- Erectile dysfunction
- Poor immune system function
- Slow healing wounds
- Muscle aches
- Weak bones
While it’s important that you discuss the dangers and consequences of using a vaporizer for weed or smoking weed with your teen, as a parent, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Remember that there are other hazards that are much easier for teenagers to get a hold of than weed. Make sure that you include the dangers of drinking and smoking in conversations with your child about making good decisions for his or her health.
References: cdc.gov | smokefree.gov
In a science-dependent world, most people understand that there are countless laboratories around the globe that are busy each day generating the products and information that we all demand.
But inside the walls of these laboratories, the work being done is very complex. New treatments that are being developed require far more than just an assortment of test tubes bubbling in a brightly-lit room lined with microscopes and clipboards. There are extensive governmental regulations, complex procedural requirements, and significant documentation processes that must be followed to the letter in order to assure safety, efficacy, and purity of the work being done.
The result of the complexity of these processes is that a number of firms exist in order to attend to the specialized requirements of various laboratory types. The work they do often supplants the efforts of in-house staff, freeing up resources to make the operation more economical.
One of the common tasks handled by outside vendors storage and transport. This process alone is complex enough to build its own industry. The types of biological samples handled by Pacific BioStorage require following very specific steps. These include comprehensive chain-of-custody documentation, proper packing methods, safe transport, and safe storage. Here are just a few of the things that go into each of these steps:
The integrity of sample identification is paramount. Whatever the purpose of the blood or tissue being stored, it must be absolutely assured to have originated where its documentation suggests. Any aberration from this standard can potentially destroy the entire process.
Consider the evidence gathered by police at the scene of a crime. If blood or DNA samples from two different murder weapons are interchanged, two killers could potentially go free. There could even be repercussions against the law enforcement personnel who collected the specimens after the implication of planted evidence.
The same is true with medical samples. If a new procedure has been attempted and the patient’s bloodwork must be stored for an extensive period, a serious statistical anomaly could take place if the identification is lost, jeopardizing years’ worth of work.
Proper Packing & Safe Transport
Mistakes in packing can cause three main problems. The first is spoilage. Improper insulation could cause temperatures to become too high or too low in the specimen, damaging important components.
The next is integrity. Poor packing of samples could cause their individual containers to leak, allowing various materials to intermingle and become contaminated.
The final problem is public health. Because so many biological samples are biohazards, it is critically important that they be fully contained inside impermeable containers at all times, so that the contents don’t leak into water, food, soil, or air.
Expert firms must be utilized to get these samples properly secured for their relocation or long-term storage.
The key factors in safe storage of biological samples are security and redundancy. Samples must be secured with more than just a lock and key. There must be strict protocols in place for who can access which samples. Additionally, there will probably be documentation of who has had access to what specimens at any given time.
Redundancy is the other important area. A cooling system, power source, or tracking system cannot be one-dimensional. There must be provisions in place for power failures, equipment malfunctions, and maintenance downtime. Without properly maintaining the correct temperature, light, and humidity conditions, samples can be compromised.
The average person understands that scientific laboratories involve high-level chemistry and biology. But the process of just handling the samples involved in the work is so complex that it’s an industry of its own.
By Dr. Mandy Grimshaw
1) Your mouth is often thought of as an island separate from other parts of the body with not much attention given to it. But, in reality, the mouth is the gateway to the body. Teeth and gums are part of your body and an unhealthy or diseased mouth has a direct link to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and COPD. Ask your dental professional to screen you and your family members for periodontal disease. It is a chronic disease affecting more than 80% of the adult population, contagious and transmissible too! Think of your visit with your hygienist as one of the most important health checkups you can have. It is more than “just a cleaning.” It should include a blood pressure check, a health history review, an oral cancer screening, a periodontal screening, a bite screening and restorative screening.
2) Headaches, neckaches, backache, shoulder pain and tingling in fingers tips may be due to a bad bite. It is not normal to clench or grind your teeth. A dentist trained in neuromuscular dentistry can evaluate your bite and symptoms to diagnose and offer treatment for your pain.
3) Modern dentistry does not hurt. Comfort options that are available while in the dental chair are NuCalm, IV and Oral Sedation, Nitrous Oxide, noise cancelling headphones, and warm blankets.
4) Sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Snoring can be treated by a dentist trained in sleep dentistry. Candidates wear an oral appliance, similar to a mouth guard, instead of, or in conjunction with a CPAP to lower the pressure settings.
Dr. Mandy Grimshaw has been practicing leading-edge dentistry since 2005. After graduating from the University of North Carolina Dental School, she joined her father, Dr. David Kuhn in his private practice in Aberdeen, North Carolina.