Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: People who self-identify as “real” vampires (aka people who say they require extra energy, often by way of blood)
Results: People who identify themselves as “real” vampires appear to be quite fearful when it comes to approaching clinicians. Why? Researchers say many people who lead the vampire lifestyle have concerns about being judged, misunderstood, or labeled as psychotic. Study leader DJ Williams of Idaho State University says that these people are actually ordinary folks who don’t fit the vampire stereotype.
Significance: Just like anyone else, vampires need help coping with life too, says Williams. As is, many people who lead this type of alternate lifestyle may be missing out on much-needed counseling due to the fact that they’re scared to approach a clinician. Instead, he hopes the study will help medical professionals be more accepting of those with nontraditional views.
Location of study: U.K.
Results: The Association for Psychological Science reports that Tetris, which requires players to rearrange and align falling shapes so that they fit neatly together, may stave off intrusive memories. By playing such a “visually-demanding computer game,” researchers say that the occurrence of intrusive memories may be reduced over time. The findings may be meaningful for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Significance: The iconic video game may appear to be nothing more than a mindless pastime. But in recent years, more and more research has cropped up to suggest otherwise. One 2013 Canadian study found the game to improve the symptoms of lazy eye. Others have even suggested that playing Tetris might increase brain efficiency.
Location of study: U.S.
Results: Numbers from the CDC suggest that heroin use is a serious problem in the U.S. In fact, it’s up among all income levels and almost all age groups. Perhaps the most surprising finding is that more and more women and white Americans—groups that usually demonstrate lower heroin-use rates—are becoming addicted.
Significance: “Heroin use is increasing at an alarming rate in many parts of society, driven by both the prescription opioid epidemic and cheaper, more available heroin,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. said in a press release. According to the report, heroin-related deaths almost doubled between 2011 and 2013. What’s more is that almost all heroin users who were represented in the study also reported using at least one other drug during the past year.
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