SWITCH UP YOUR LIFESTYLE
Better mental health may be on the horizon
A new study from Oxford University shows that video games can have a positive effect on mental health.
The study looked specifically at Nintendo’s Animal Crossings: New Horizons and EA’s Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, notably measuring their actual play-time (rather than self-reported play-time). It then compared this data with a survey of the players’ mental wellbeing, with a small positive relation between the two being uncovered.
Unfortunately, the study itself was pretty limited and a lot more work needs to be done before you can truthfully say that the 6 hours you spent playing The Last Of Us 2 were carried out on doctor’s orders.
The study only looked at 2 different games and uncovered a correlation rather than anything more concrete. Moving forward, more in-depth studies might look at the demographics of different gamers as well as how different genres of games affect mental wellbeing.
On the fence
For now, it’s still under debate whether video games are good for you or not. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) controversially listed “gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Of course, this only applies to excessive or addictive gaming.
Other studies show the benefits of playing video games — for example, this survey found that video games help children in terms of literacy, communication skills, and mental wellbeing. (You hear that, parents? You can stop limiting your kids’ screen time!)
Regardless, it’s probably alright for you to keep blowing off some steam by playing video games (in moderation, of course).
5 Singaporean stories to catch up on
1️⃣ Sorry to burst your (travel) bubble, but you’re going to have to wait a bit longer to fly to Hong Kong.
2️⃣ Save your brain cells! Brain Bank Singapore has received its first two deposits.
3️⃣ TCM Online: Eu Yan Sang has partnered with MyDoc to bring consultations with TCM physicians online.
4️⃣ Medicinal maggots: Maggot debridement therapy is used at NUH to save limbs.
5️⃣ As we get closer to finding a coronavirus vaccine, Singapore looks to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.
And 5 facts to spice up your life:
1️⃣ Ahem: An AI developed at MIT is able to detect whether or not a person has COVID-19 through the sound of their cough.
2️⃣ Hidden secrets: New research has found an entire world of hidden microbes in Leonardo Da Vinci’s art.
3️⃣ Find out what exactly you’re made of with BBC’s interactive The Making of Me and You.
4️⃣ In and out: Canadian scientists have invented a device that takes the breathalyzer to a whole new level.
5️⃣ Love horror movies? Studies show that watching them can help with anxiety and stress levels.
A whole new way to plug and play
A team of American and Australian researchers have uncovered a way to connect the human brain to a computer. It involves literally threading a wired stent, called the Stentrode, through our veins. This method was tested on two paralysed people and eventually allowed them to send texts, shop online, and perform other digital tasks using only their minds.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t exactly new and have been making great strides in recent years, but the Stentrode is unique in that it negates the need for open-brain surgery, which can come with a lot of complications.
Other notable BCIs currently undergoing development include BrainGate and Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Just recently, Elon Musk went public with Gertrude, a pig with a coin-sized computer chip in her brain.
Unfortunately, progress in this field can be rather slow. Much of the difficulty when it comes to developing neural control devices lies in our lack of true understanding of how the human brain functions — recording information is all well and good, but decoding it is a whole other issue.
If further progress is made, this technology might someday be able to cure conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s disease, which is amazing if you really think about it. In the meantime, it’s doing great work helping patients dealing with limb loss, paralysis, and diseases of the nervous system.
Weird & Wonderful
- Spitballs are more dangerous now than they’ve ever been.
- Pavlov probably thought about feeding his dogs whenever he heard a bell ring.
- Your lap only exists when you’re sitting down.
- Sorry non-Potterheads, but the sorting hat seems like a really good way to get lice.
- The first thing we do when meeting someone new is to hold their hand.
Tips for you and your wallet
Black Friday might be just around the corner, but this week we’re serving you the best tips on how to save on healthcare all year round.
First of all, it’s important to choose your insurance plan wisely. It will take a bit of research, but think about your personal needs and how much you’re willing to spend on a premium before making your decision — it could really make a difference further down the road.
Secondly, make sure you find out if you’re eligible for any of the many government subsidies available to all Singaporeans. If you’re visiting a specialist, go to a polyclinic first and ask for a referral. It might take longer for you to get an appointment, so plan ahead! Your wallet is sure to thank you.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to go generic! Why pay for brand name drugs when you can get the same thing at a fraction of the price? It might require a little thick skin, but ask your doctor about generic medication options the next time you’re given a prescription.