Excessive Gaming Might Soon Be Recognized as an Official Disorder

iStock
iStock

Not all addictive behaviors are substance-related. Occasionally, they might involve too many hours on the couch. As BBC News reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering adding gaming addiction to its list of mental health conditions for the first time in its upcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The ICD is "the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions," according to the WHO, the UN's public health agency. Used by doctors and scholars to identify and diagnose diseases, the ICD provides lists of symptoms and signs for various conditions.

The current edition of the ICD was completed in 1992, and the latest version will be published in 2018. A draft of this update lists symptoms of gaming addiction, including the inability to control one's gaming habits, increasingly prioritizing gaming over other activities, and either continuing to game or increasing one's hours spent gaming even after the all-consuming hobby yields negative consequences. It doesn't include prevention and treatment options yet, according to USA Today.

"In a number of countries, [excessive gaming] has become a significant public health concern," WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević told CBC News. "There is increasing and well-documented evidence of clinical relevance of these conditions and increasing demand for treatment in different parts of the world."

The debate over video games is often a heated one. Some experts say they can enhance cognitive function and boost problem-solving abilities, while other researchers point out that that gamers have sedentary lifestyles and can experience mental health issues.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V, in 2013, hasn't yet provided its own conclusion on gaming. In contrast with the latest ICD draft, the DSM-V classifies excessive internet gaming disorder as a "condition for further study."

[h/t BBC News]

10 Best U.S. Cities for Reducing Stress

Anaheim, California's Paradise Pier.
Anaheim, California's Paradise Pier.
Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images

Looking to reduce your stress level? You might want to consider moving to Anaheim, California. Homeowner website House Method analyzed data from America’s largest 100 cities in order to determine the best—and worst—cities for managing your stress level.

The company looked at the same five factors across all 100 cities: commute time, mental health counselors per capita, the percentage of people who exercise regularly, walkability (specifically: to a park), and the number of yoga instructors and classes. Once all the data was tallied, Anaheim, California ended up in the top spot with an overall score of 38.5.

"The city has beautiful weather, lots of sunshine, and Disneyland. How could you be stressed when Mickey lives right down the road?," House Method’s senior editor and researcher David Cusick wrote of the results. "While Anaheim didn’t have the best score for commute time, it did rank number one for the city with the most mental health counselors per capita and has a very high percentage of people who like to exercise frequently."

California did well overall; four of the survey’s top 10 cities were located in The Golden State: Oakland came in second, Irvine came in fourth, and San Francisco came in fifth (despite its high housing costs). Seattle and Spokane, Washington—which came in eighth and tenth, respectively—tipped the scales in the west coast’s favor. Here are the 10 best cities for reducing stress:

  1. Anaheim, CA
  2. Oakland, CA
  3. Jersey City, NJ
  4. Irvine, CA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Madison, WI
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Aurora, CO
  10. Spokane, WA

On the other end of the rankings were America’s worst cities for reducing stress, with Laredo, Texas taking the title as the very worst. “Laredo ranked last for the amount of mental health counselors per capita, percentage of people who exercise, and the amount of yoga instructors/classes,” Cusick wrote. “Filling out the bottom five cities are Bakersfield, California (96); Indianapolis, Indiana (97); San Antonio, Texas (98); and Jacksonville, Florida (99).”

For the full list of city rankings, visit House Method.

Human Body Temperatures Are Dropping, and Science Might Know Why

dcdp/iStock via Getty Images
dcdp/iStock via Getty Images

In 1868, German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich started to popularize what’s become the most recognizable number in all of medicine: 98.6°F or 37°C, which is thought to be the normal average human body temperature. Though his methods later came under scrutiny—Wunderlich stuck an enormous thermometer under the armpits of patients for 20 minutes, a less-than-accurate technique—this baseline has helped physicians identify fevers as well as abnormally low body temperatures, along with corresponding illnesses or diseases.

More than 150 years later, 98.6° may no longer be the standard. Humans seem to be getting cooler. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, in a paper published in the journal eLife, compared three large datasets from different time periods: American Civil War records, a national health survey from the 1970s, and a Stanford database from 2007-2017. By comparing recorded body temperatures, the researchers founds that men are now averaging a temperature .58°C less than what's long been considered normal, while women are .32°C lower. On average, each has decreased roughly .03°C every decade since the 1860s.

What drove us to chill out? Scientists have a few theories. A number of advances in human comfort have been ushered in since the 1800s, including better hygiene and readily available food, which may have slowed our metabolic rate (temperature is an indication of that rate). Chronic inflammation, which also raises body temperature, has decreased with the advent of vaccines, antibiotics, and better healthcare. The researchers propose that, on average, our bodies are healthier and slightly less warm.

After all, the average life expectancy in Wunderlich’s era was just 38 years.

[h/t The Independent]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER