Everybody loves a great adventure. From Dorothy’s travels along the Yellow Brick Road to Frodo’s eventful journey through Middle-earth, we are excited and enthralled by notions of exploration. Humans are a naturally inquisitive species. So, we get distracted, spend our attention on non-urgent matters, while away our time gazing at the skies, and wander off the trodden path. Although these activities may seem a waste of time from a purely survival-driven perspective, the desire for mental and physical discovery is an essential trait that has allowed our kind to progress by leaps and bounds.
There and Back Again
There is a scientific and evolutionary basis for our interest in seemingly extraneous information. In our complex and rapidly transforming world, there is no way we could truly know which tidbit of knowledge would come in handy later. Hence, our brains have been programmed to meander, explore, and investigate, all the while collecting random information that may prove useful in the future. In short, humans are the ultimate learning machines and we have been trained to appreciate not only the final destination but the entire expedition.
When compared to non-human primates, humans exhibit stronger neoteny or the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood. This means that we never lose our child-like curiosity and playfulness. It also enables us to keep learning throughout our lives, alter our ways of thinking, and pick up fresh skills as we adapt to different circumstances. For some, this could be perfecting the recipe for a pot pie. For others, it could be inventing an intergalactic network of computers that would later develop into the Internet.
As humans, we are so attached to the concept and journey of exploration that it permeates many forms of our recreation. From old-school computer games like Civilization to iconic TV series like Lost, we love the idea of uncharted frontiers and building something from nothing. Whether we care to admit it or not, we all carry an attraction for adventure in our DNA. So much so that groups of people with the same interests often gather together to take on challenges, such as mountain climbing, as a team. Hence, teamwork, another important human capability, comes into play.
Journeys in the Digital Earth
Research has shown that cooperation and teamwork were significant factors that led to our species having larger brain sizes and greater intelligence. While there have been many solo explorers and inventors in history, a majority of humanity’s successes have come from the concerted efforts of a dedicated team—even if they are not all acknowledged at the end. It is no different in our world today. In fact, the prolific industry of software development could be said to be an ideal representation of our best evolutionary traits.
Software development is a perpetually progressing field that is always in flux. A popular platform or programming language may be the standard one day and outdated the next. (Okay, maybe the next month, but you get my drift.) Needs and goalposts may shift throughout the software development process and unforeseen obstacles could occur, impacting plans, timelines, and budgets. Much like the settlers or explorers that we love to dream about, software developers need to always be on their game and ready to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.
Having a reliable team is a critical asset for those who look to confront a new frontier. Remember in dystopian movies where there is always a selfish person who runs away with the weapons and someone who always panics and screams a lot? None of those people, please! The confidence of team members and their synergy is essential in determining how they react during the software development process. A robust development team should consist of members who can maintain an open mind and find fulfillment in facing and overcoming challenges.
As decentralized workplaces and remote working arrangements have become a norm due to the pandemic, teams that are situated in the same building have a clear advantage. Digital communication technology has improved a lot in the past two years but a face on a screen is still not an adequate substitute for the nuances of physical contact. For clients who are looking to build custom software in North Carolina, the ability to meet and engage the entire team brings with it the benefits of subtle nonverbal communication that can help finetune project briefs and plans. Having team members under one roof also improves communication efficiency, problem-solving capacity, and enhances the camaraderie necessary for achieving success.
From conceptualization and research, planning and prototyping, to development, testing, and deployment, there are a myriad of milestones in the software development process. The beauty of the journey is watching the product as it evolves and expands to finally become the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it certainly gave us the boldness and creativity to enjoy the journey of invention. By combining their imagination with agile adaptability and cooperation, software developers can continue to explore and achieve great heights.
Dr. Marc Potenza and Yale’s Gambling CORE (Center of Research Excellence) conduct research on gambling behaviors, including the role that human brain activity plays in the development of pathological gambling. Dr. Potenza, a doctor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, has worked with researchers at McGill University in Montreal to study adolescent gambling (2008). He’s also worked with doctors at Ramon y Cajal Hospital at the University of Alcala in Madrid to treat pathological gamblers (2009).
Over that time, Potenza has developed theories on the origins of gambling addiction. Alongside a bevy of other Yale researchers, Potenza has collected data to test those theories. Consistently, their research has found that gambling addiction has a neurological component.
How Yale Gambling CORE Researchers Study Gamblers
Dr. Potenza and his team of researchers have done parallel studies on several types of gaming: non-gambling players, recreational gamblers, problem gamblers, and pathological gamblers. The CORE researchers come from a variety of Yale departments, including the Psychology, Public Health, Child Studies, Epidemiology (health and disease conditions in defined populations), and Psychiatry departments.
The team draws upon expertise from several fields, including substance abuse, women’s health, and psychiatric genetics experts. To conduct their studies, the Yale researchers use a variety of techniques: brain imaging, clinical testing, developmental, psychopharmacological, and longitudinal (“then and now”) research.
During their various projects, the researchers subdivided groups along genetic, gender-based, and epidemiological lines. Yale gambling research is disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and is debated at clinic conferences and outreach events.
Type of Gamblers Studied
Non-Gambling Player: Freeplay gaming either with house money, casino credits, online free chips, or bonus money. These are players who get the same level of fun from playing a game whether money is on the line or not.
Recreational Gambler: Wagering for fun or entertainment. The player views a casino trip as a form of entertainment, similar to buying tickets to a concert or sporting event. Gambling is fun, because they might win, but they have a set price they’ll pay for the entertainment and walk away if they reach that price. This is roughly 96% to 98% of gamblers.
Problem Gambler: A gambler who sometimes has problems stopping their gambling urge. The adrenaline rush causes them to make extra trips to the ATM machine, exceeding the bankroll they planned to use. Comprising 2% to 4% of the betting population, most problem gamblers can arrest their dangerous behavior by calling a hotline or signing up for self-exclusion lists.
Pathological Gambler: A problem gambler who exhibits compulsive behavior to the point it causes harm to their finances and relationships. This is the gambling addict who cannot stop when on a losing streak. A 2003 Yale study isolated the behavior of these gamblers.
2003 fMRI Study of Pathological Gamblers
In 2003, Dr. Potenza published the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of pathological gamblers in the Archives of General Psychiatry in August 2003. The research detected changes in brain activity in the frontal, paralimbic, and limbic parts of the brain. When pathological gamblers saw videos of gambling, their neural responses to the stimuli were distinct from non-gamblers or recreational gamblers. Those with pathological gambling addiction had different emotions responses to gambling-related stimuli.
What made the research instructive is pathological gamblers’ response to other videos did not differ from other men. For instance, they were shown videos of sad subjects, such as divorces or a death in the family. Researchers also showed happy moments, such as an unexpected visit from a beloved relative or a wedding event. The pathological gamblers’ response to sad and happy stimuli was no different than the response of non-gamblers.
Dr. Potenza said in the 2003 study that the Yale research proved pathological gamblers’ brain activity towards gambling is different from those who don’t suffer from gambling addiction, yet their brains are not different from the human baseline in other ways. Potenza said the 2003 research would help therapists and neurologists find the best ways to further “the prevention and treatment of pathological gambling” in the future.
2004 Yale Research
A year later, Rani Desai, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, conducted telephone interviews of 2,417 adults of all ages. The research, published in a report called “The Gambling Impact and Behavior Study”, found that gambling was healthy for recreational gamblers 65 years old and over.
Those younger than 65 showed “high rates of alcohol use and abuse, depression, bankruptcy, and incarceration” than senior citizens did. The researchers did not give definitive reasons for the changes in elderly gamblers, though elderly people are less likely to be incarcerated in general. Depression and bankruptcy are another matter.
Desai and her co-authors wrote in the report, “Although the underlying reasons remain hypothetical, proposed reasons included the increased activity, socialization, and cognitive stimulation that are related to engaging in gambling. Such a mechanism would be consistent with the literature on healthy aging, which indicates that more socially and cognitively active elders are, in general, healthier.”
Gambling Among Adults in Germany: Prevalence, Disorder and Risk Factors
Problem gambling researchers in Germany found that pathological gambling is distinct from subthreshold pathological gambling. In August 2011, six German researchers released the report “Gambling Among Adults in Germany“, which estimated the prevalence of gambling in German adults. The 2011 study, which was taken from a random cross-sectional sample of German gamblers including 8,006 subjects aged 18 to 64 years, gauged the percentage of those bettors who exhibited pathological gambling and other risk factors.
The researchers used data from the 2009 Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse (ESA). The study found that roughly 4 times as many German gamblers exhibited subthreshold pathological gambling (SPG) than pathological gambling (PG). In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV), a person is judged to be a pathological gambler if the person exhibits five or more of the following maladaptive gambling behaviors. The ten maladaptive behaviors are listed below.
Preoccupation with Gambling: Reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture.
Tolerance: Escalating gambling activities with increasing amounts of money over time.
Lack of Control: Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop one’s gambling.
Withdrawal-like Symptoms: Restlessness and irritability.
Escapism: Gambles as a way to escape problems or relieving feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, or helplessness.
Chasing Losses: Returning another day after a losing session to “get even”.
Lies about Gambling: Deceives family members, therapists, and others to conceal the extent of gambling.
Illegal Acts: Committed forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance gambling.
Negative Consequences: The gamblers jeopardized or lost relationships, jobs, or educational or career opportunities due to gambling.
Financial Reliance: Relies on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling.
If a person exhibits 1 to 4 of the behaviors, they are considered to exhibit “subthreshold pathological gambling”. Also, if the 10 symptoms above can be better accounted for by manic episodes, then the DSM-IV states a diagnosis of pathological gambling is invalid.
Since the 2011 study was released, the American Psychiatric Association has released the DSM-5. A few changes to the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling were made in the DSM-5. The criterion involving illegal acts was removed, while all of the maladaptive behaviors must be exhibited within the same 12-month period.
2019 fMRI Study of Internet Gaming Disorder
A study on gender-related functional connectivity by Dr. Potenza and four other scientists will be released in January 2019. The research used fMRI and subjective data to take a look at both male and female groups of people with Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) when they were made to take mandatory breaks while gambling.
Using a sample group of 119 subjects broken into 4 groups — recreational male gamblers, recreational female gamblers, males with IGD, and females with IGD — the study found significant differences in the genders. Dr. Potenza’s researchers studied “functional connectivity”, or the functionally integrated relationship between spatially separated brain regions, in the brains of the four groups.
The fMRI data was taken when the subjects were gambling and also after they were required to take a mandatory break from gambling. When women with IGD took a mandatory break, their functional connectivity showed a significant change, reverting closer to baseline levels of brain activity. When the males with IGD took the same mandated break, their brains did not show a similar change in activity.
While the full report is unavailable at present, Dr. Potenza speculates the differences in functional connectivity could explain why gambling addiction is more prevalent in men than in women. The abstract of the upcoming study said of the research: “The findings suggest possible neural mechanisms for why males appear more likely to develop IGD, and why it may be particularly difficult for individuals with IGD to cease gaming.”
The Yale Gambling CORE team has conducted a number of studies on addiction over the years. Dr. Potenza has studied how Dopamine levels in the brain might lead to gambling disorders. Outside of the gambling field, he’s also the neurology of cocaine addiction, how schizophrenia might lead to a greater risk for addiction, and how testing methods for children at-risk to develop smartphone addiction and Internet addiction could be improved.
Over two decades, Yale University’s research has shown that neural activity is connected to various kinds of human addiction — and pathological gambling specifically. For those who deal with problem gambling and pathological gambling, their behavior is hardwired into the brain. That might make the problem seem hopeless, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Since this type of human behavior is tied to brain activity, it means that scientists like Dr. Potenza can figure out why compulsive behavior happens. Researchers will use the data to find ways to treat compulsive gambling in people. Therapists will develop techniques to remedy problem gambling, or refer their patients to neurologists and psychiatrists who can block the neural responses which reinforce gambling addiction.
If the problem is hardwired, then the wiring can be fixed. The eventual solution could take more years of study by the Yale Gambling CORE team and other researchers around the globe, but Dr. Potenza is doing essential work in the field of pathological gambling. In time, understanding the neurology of gambling addiction will lead to more successful treatments for problem gambling and pathological gambling.
<h1>When Would You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? </h1>
If you’re in Colorado and you’ve been involved in a car accident, truck accident, or a motorcycle accident, you’ll want to reach out to a trusted personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your case and conduct the necessary steps to file a claim. These specialized attorneys will fight for you to see that you receive full and fair financial compensation for your injuries.
But how do you know when you really do need the help of a personal injury lawyer? And what types of cases do they generally take on? Here, we’re taking a closer look at what personal injury lawyers actually do and what types of cases they handle. We also answer the question of when you would need a personal injury lawyer and how they can help you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.
WHAT DOES A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER DO?
A personal injury lawyer is a civil litigator who provides legal representation for those who have experienced physical or psychological injury that stems from the negligence of another party. Whether that other party is an individual person, corporation, or government body, they’ll work to see that the plaintiff receives fair and full financial compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering.
Personal injury lawyers specialize in a part of the legal system classified as tort law. But what exactly is tort law? A tort is considered “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.” Tort law, then, refers to any civil suit that involves personal injuries or damages. Tort law offers relief, generally in the form of financial compensation, to the injured party. A personal injury claim may also include punitive damages, which are awarded to the plaintiff in hopes that it will discourage this type of negligent behavior by future parties. Ranging from car accidents to defective product claims, personal injury lawyers are there to stand up for individuals who have been adversely impacted by the negligence of others.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS?
If you’ve been involved in an accident, it can be difficult to at first know whether or not your experience would qualify as a personal injury claim. While each case is always unique, there are some broad categories that account for the majority of personal injury claims.
To help you better understand this field of law, we’re listing out some of the most common types of personal injury claims. If any of these sound like something you’ve experienced, you may benefit from calling a personal injury attorney.
· Car accidents
· Truck accidents
· Motorcycle accidents
· Bicycle accidents
· Drunk driving accidents
· Texting while driving accidents
· Pedestrian accidents
· Bad faith insurance claims
· Head and brain injuries
· Back and spine injuries
· Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims
· Defective products
· Wrongful death suits
WHEN WOULD YOU NEED A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
If you’ve been involved in one of the types of accidents previously discussed, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Most personal injury accidents have a statute of limitation, which means you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim after the accident occurs. In most cases, you have two years to file your suit; however, depending on the state and the particular details of the case, this timeframe could be different.
But how do you know when you need the assistance of a personal injury attorney? When in doubt, it’s always better to call a personal injury law firm to find out. Since most of these firms offer free consultations, the only thing you have to offer is a few minutes of your time. Talking with a personal injury lawyer will help you better understand your situation from a legal perspective and determine if you should pursue a case.
In any event where you’ve been injured (either physically or psychologically) by the negligence of another person, business, or organization, you’ll need the professional assistance and experience of a personal injury lawyer. But how do you know if you even have a personal injury suit?
A successful personal injury needs four specific elements. First, you must establish a duty of care, which means that the defendant owed the plaintiff some type of responsibility or care, such as when you’re driving a car and you have a responsibility to other drivers to drive safely. Next, you must establish a breach of this duty. You must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care through their negligent actions.
The third element you need is to establish causation, which basically means that the specific breach of duty led to your injuries or damages. An obvious example of this would be when you get injured in a car accident caused by someone driving unsafely. Last but not least, you must prove that you suffered harm and incurred losses as a result of the negligent action and injuries.
If all of these requirements are met, there’s a good chance you have a valid personal injury claim.
CONCLUSION – WHEN WOULD YOU NEED A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
Following any type of accident, whether it’s a car accident, truck accident, or bicycle accident, it can be confusing to know what to do next. After you’ve received medical treatment, received an official police report, and talked with your insurance company—what should you do next?
To determine whether or not you may have a valid personal injury claim on your hands, you should contact a trusted personal injury law firm. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you assess your case, determine its true value, and file all the necessary paperwork. They’ll even talk to your insurance company on your behalf. While most personal injury claims are settled out of court, they’ll also take your case to trial and fight for you in front of a jury. If you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident, what are you waiting for? Contact a trusted personal injury attorney to get the help you deserve.
New treatment alternative offers discreet and effective way to help patients
Herpes is one of the world’s most prevalent viruses – nearly half a billion patients worldwide suffer from genital herpes and billions more report oral herpes infections. Yet, despite the high incidence rate and many high-profile attempts to revolutionize care, a dearth of effective treatments and a widespread stigmatization of the virus have forced sufferers to endure their pain in silence.
Regardless of the strain, either HSV-1 or HSV-2, the most common complications involve genital or oral lesions, which can be quite visible, painful, and embarrassing for patients. It’s these lesions – both their appearance and others’ reactions to them – that induce serious psychological side effects for those with herpes diagnoses.
Researchers and pharmaceutical companies have worked tirelessly to treat herpes’ most obvious symptoms. Antivirals like penciclovir and valacyclovir are widely prescribed. Doctors typically take one of two treatment courses: intermittent treatment, in which patients take medication once an outbreak begins, and suppressive treatment, in which patients take antivirals every day. However, these antivirals, known within the medical community as nucleoside inhibitors, are limited in scope; they improve symptoms but fail to stop virus transmission or improve more severe cases.
Recent years have also seen the development of potential therapeutic vaccines, which elicit a T cell response to fight infection. These efforts have faced multiple roadblocks because scientists have struggled to identify the exact target that would trigger the T cell response for herpes specifically. There has also been some early progress regarding preventative vaccine development and experimentation with CRISPR/Cas9, a breakthrough gene editing tool.
However, antivirals are the only treatment option currently available to patients and don’t have 100% efficacy in stopping outbreaks or other herpes-related symptoms. Additionally, none of the above treatment options take into account herpes’ invisible side effect – stigmatization and its psychological impact.
This aspect of herpes infection warrants the scientific and medical communities’ attention. A 2010 study published in The Journal of Health Psychology reviewed the psychological health of herpes sufferers and found a correlation between patients’ poor coping mechanisms (due to perceived negativity from others) and higher recurrences of outbreaks. The higher recurrence rate then reinforced the stigmatic cycle. In short, the stigma not only led patients in the study to hide their diagnosis but also worsened their condition, prolonging their silence.
Similarly, a 2018 study examined the many aspects of patients’ psychological distress, including negative self-image, concern about public attitudes, fears of disclosing their status to sexual partners, and their own stigma. The higher these subjects’ psychological distress, the more likely it was that they had low perceived social support, among other variables. The study recommended using a new tool, the Genital Herpes Stigma Scale, in clinical settings to reduce herpes patients’ negative feelings.
The stigma has deep roots around the world, especially in America – despite the fact that herpes is a virus more of physical discomfort than medical complication. Herpes symptoms can be troubling and more severe in some cases, but the virus itself only poses life-threatening health risks in those with weakened immune systems, and even then, the virus is treatable. Furthermore, many people suffer or have suffered from other infections in the herpes category, including chickenpox (varicella zoster virus), shingles, and mononucleosis. Yet herpes – genital and oral – has become the primary target of long-lasting social stigma.
Early coverage of herpes treated the virus like other common infections, writing it off as nothing more problematic than a cold or the flu. In fact, a 1976 New York Times Magazine article said herpes viruses were “like bacteria and pollution”, ever-present and nothing to fear. But also around this time, many publications like TIME and the Los Angeles Times began printing stories that connected herpes to moral depravity. By the early 1980s, this became a widely held view, which was echoed in other mediums including network television.
This view held steady, leading many herpes patients to grow ashamed of their diagnosis and many others to fear a diagnosis to an unreasonable degree, thus adding a psychosocial layer to a medical issue that, though not grave, had limited treatment paths.
Today, the same challenges remain – an overreliance on antivirals, without the promise of vaccines or more effective treatments, and a popular stigma founded in fear, not science. This leaves herpes patients in a difficult spot.
Many improvements could help these patients in the long run – tools like the Genital Herpes Stigma Scale, global education campaigns to dispel herpes myths, more aggressive funding and research to bring myriad treatment options to market. But rising company Synergy Pharmaceuticals has opted for a different approach.
Synergy’s Combination Herpes Treatment isn’t just a medication, it’s the long awaited cure. Made from five natural ingredients – a Unique Amino Formula, Astragalus, Tribulus, Rhodiola, and L-Lysine – the holistic treatment according to Synergy weakens herpes’ viral envelope until it dies out, stopping both outbreaks and transmission. Patients who took Synergy’s treatment for a period of 4 – 6 months exhibited no symptoms and tested negative for the virus in subsequent blood tests.
The results from Synergy’s drug trials showed a level of unprecedented success, offering hope for patients who wish to overcome the virus’ physical complications. But additionally, the Combination Herpes Treatment is available direct-to-consumer via Synergy’s website, which equates to a user-friendly, discreet way for patients to seek help, and at that, help that works.
To gain a more complete assessment of this treatment from Synergy, we ran an independent review with 10 people who had what would deem to be quite aggressive HSV 2 infections of the monthly to bi-monthly range. Over the course of 6 months, we were able to monitor their outbreaks and symptoms as they proceeded to take the combination. Of the 10 people involved, seven showed a dramatic reduction in outbreaks to the point that by the conclusion they no longer reported any substantial outbreaks of any type. Of the remaining three people, two reported that there was a significant reduction however; they had experienced some form of symptoms at or before the final stages of treatment. The final person reported an improvement but still experienced outbreaks. Keep in mind this was not a clinical trial and we did not assess their diet or blood work and only their symptoms.
What studies have shown over many years is that herpes patients suffer two illnesses – one of the body and one of mental health. Extremely limited treatments fail to offer complete relief of symptoms, and social stigma denies these patients a medical and personal support system that can help them overcome the psychological trauma often associated with a herpes diagnosis. Synergy Pharmaceuticals’ breakthrough herpes cure offers a two-pronged solution, to help patients sidestep public disclosure and ridicule, and also achieve full health.
Though many scientific trials continue, potentially advancing herpes treatment through multiple avenues, the Combination Herpes Treatment is a game-changing holistic achievement that puts patients’ health and peace of mind first.