Mental Health Effects of ‘Pokemon GO,’ and Other News

Young adults playing a game on their smartphonesAt least 15 million people have downloaded Pokémon GO, a virtual reality app for smartphones that encourages users to virtually find Pokémon characters in the real world.

Some have criticized the app as another technological distraction, but many users insist it is actually improving their mental health. Because the app requires users to search for characters outside, in their neighborhoods, and in local stores, some users say they are getting more exercise. Others find the app encourages them to interact with strangers, alleviating social anxiety and potentially making new friends. This increase in exercise and socialization may help explain why users are crediting the app with easing their anxiety and depression symptoms.

Many users have shared their experiences with the game on social media, highlighting its perceived mental health benefits. One user tweeted that, as a veteran with posttraumatic stress, leaving the yard is often difficult, but Pokémon GO made it easier to leave home and talk to strangers.

Fruit and Veggies Give You the Feel-Good Factor

Eating more fruits and vegetables could improve mental health, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers found happiness increased with each additional serving of fruits and vegetables, up to eight servings per day.

Teen Vaping Could Reverse Progress in Control of Tobacco

Electronic cigarettes are more than just a substitute for the real thing, according to a new study. In 2014, about 14% of high school seniors reported smoking or vaping, compared to 9% who reported smoking in 2004. This suggests e-cigarettes may encourage teens who normally would not smoke to use nicotine, rather than just catering to those who already use the drug.

Giving Patients Some Choice Could Boost Drugs’ Effectiveness

A study of people who could choose between two different medications suggests personal choice could boost a drug’s effectiveness. For the study, researchers used placebos, though the participants were not aware of this fact. People who got to choose their medication reported fewer side effects 24 hours later than those who were not given a choice.

AAP Announces New Initiative to Confront Violence in Children’s Lives

In response to recent police killings of two black men and the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new anti-violence initiative last week. The initiative—to be shared in the coming days—will directly address gun violence, as well as underlying factors in violence, including homophobia, racism, and intolerance.

Agreeable Personalities More Likely to Help Strangers

According to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, certain personality traits may be linked to a greater willingness to help others. Though many different factors can determine whether someone is willing to help another person, empathy is often connected to increased willingness to help. People with high levels of empathy often exhibit high levels of agreeableness.

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  • Cora

    July 15th, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    hey it’s encouraging my kids to get up and get moving so I’m definitely good with that aspect of the game

  • Susie

    July 17th, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    Giving patients not only a choice but also a voice when it comes to their own healthcare could be a remarkable step in more people feeling like they have control over their health as well as their treatment. We have been taught to just defer to the doctors’ wishes and have failed along to way to stand up for what we believe and what we would like to try to do.

  • garrison

    July 18th, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    I love how much better I feel when I get in some good food for the day. You know that lethargic feeling you get when you eat fast food all of the time? Well I had that for years, not understanding that I was only getting back what I was putting in. Once I rid my diet for the most part of all of that junk I immediately noticed a change in how I look and how I feel. It has been an amazing transformation.

  • Jess

    July 19th, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    I do not like the whole vaping trend at all. What good is ending one habit when you are the replacing it with another habit that is just as financially and time consuming, not to mention that we don’t know yet what the long term health effects will be?

  • emery

    July 20th, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    Kids today are exposed to so much more hate and violence I think than we were for the Gen X crowd, and that sort of makes me scared of raising a child in this kind of heated worldwide environment. Do I want to add to the population when I know that there is a good chance that they could be a victim of a violent act simply because of where they live or what they look like? I don’t know, it’s pretty scary, something to definitely think about for me in the next few years.

  • shay

    July 21st, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    obviously there are too many people today who do not possess the amicable personality

  • Lisa P

    July 21st, 2016 at 2:00 PM

    I see kids out all the time who are vaping and so I have wondered if they are even supposed to be able to buy this stuff? I mean they can’t smoke legally til they are 18, but because this is a nicotine substitute does this mean that they can have access to it any time that they choose?

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