Virtual Reality may Be Able To Treat Paranoia


A new study from a team of researchers in Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, have found that the use of virtual reality could improve the standard treatment for paranoia and anxiety.

As said by the lead author of the study, Roos M.C.A.Pot-Kolder…

“The addition of virtual reality CBT  (cognitive behavioural therapy) to standard treatment reduced paranoid feelings, anxiety, and use of safety behaviors in social situations, compared with standard treatment alone.”

Two groups of people diagnosed with a psychotic disorder were compared, one group were treated with standard treatment and the other group were additionally treated with virtual reality. From this, it was found that the additional treatment of VR helped to improve functioning social and community settings, daily activities and self-care.

‘Standard treatment’ consists of antipsychotic medication, regular contact with a psychiatrist, and social support from a psychiatric nurse.  The virtual reality uses CBT which focuses on solving current problems.

Another discovery the research team made was that they found out 90% of people diagnosed with psychosis believe that others constantly want to harm them, so they avoid social interaction as much as possible – using virtual reality can allow people to step out of their comfort zone without it being reality, thus preparing them in the best possible way before the real life interaction.

In conclusion, virtual reality is clearly starting to show more and more advantages in the medical / science field – hopefully the results from this study will encourage more research into its use for other medical disorders.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!



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VR Virtual Reality Technology Statistics

Adult Brain Cells Don’t Make New Memory Cells


Research from the University of California, San Francisco suggests that the hippocampus stops regenerating new cells from childhood. This further led to the discovery that disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease could potentially be treated by finding a way to promote neurogenesis in order to replenish the loss of brain cells by the disease.

For the study, the lead professor Alvarez-Buylla and his colleagues used samples of the hippocampus of 59 different people from multiple different countries, and used these to work out the lifespan of the brain cells and neurones. From this, it was found that neurogenesis fell sharply after birth, and by early adolescence the concentration of new neurones continued to fall.

As said by Mercedes Paredes, assistant professor of Neurology and co-leadr during hippocampus tissue analysis:

“we were able to see that substantial numbers of new neurons continue to be made and integrated into the dentate gyrus, but neurogenesis fades away completely by early adolescence.”

Although the investigators accept that they cannot definitely conclude that the adult hippocampus never makes new neurones, their research has shown that it is definitely necessary to promote more neurogenesis, because even if it is occurring in small amounts, this is not enough for it to be detected.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!



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Xeroderma Pigmentosum – the ‘vampire’ syndrome


Xeroderma Pigmentosum is an inherited condition that causes extreme sensitivity to UV light from the Sun. The condition is known as the ‘vampire’ syndrome because the symptoms cause people affected to avoid sunlight and have bloodshot eyes.

Signs and symptoms: 

  • severe sunburn after just a few minutes in the Sun
  • redness and blistering of the face
  • freckles in sun-exposed areas of the body
  • dry skin (xeroderma)
  • changes in skin colouring (pigmentation)
  • cornea of eye may become cloudy
  • neurological abnormalities
  • irritated, bloodshot eyes

Who does it affect?

  • 1 in a million people
  • normally children
  • more common in Japan, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Other names of the condition:

  • DeSanctis-Cacchione syndrome
  • XP

Consequences of the condition:

  • greatly increased risk of developing skin cancer
  • greatly increased risk of developing lung cancer
  • increased neurological problems that tend to worsen with time
  • greatly increased risk of developing eye cancer / eye problems (“eyelashes fall out and the eyelids may be thin and turn abnormally inward or outward”)
  • greatly increased risk of developing cancer of the scalp, in the eyes, and on the tip of the tongue


Thank you for taking the time to read this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to share this blog and comment any future blog ideas down below!



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Stress Eating


Stress Eating – to define it, it is “a pattern of eating where people use food to help them deal with stressful situations.”

Triggers increasing Stress Eating:

  • BOREDOM  – this is probably the most well known and most common reason for stress eating – when people are actively doing something, food isn’t a priority to them, however when people have nothing to do, eating becomes something they can focus and something to keep them satisfied.
  • HABITS – for example, it could be a habit in some households to have ice-cream after a good report-card, or bake with the grandparents every Sunday.
  • FATIGUE – food can provide an escape from jobs people don’t want to do, so people tend to overeat in order to give them ‘energy’ or ‘help them stay awake’
  • SOCIAL INFLUENCES – being around friends or family in general can cause people to eat overly, especially if friends want to get pizza after a night out, or your family want to order takeaway

In order to control Stress Eating, one must accept that there are certain triggers that will increase the likelihood of them eating more than they usually do, and try to limit the effect of those triggers.

  • To tackle boredom, try reading a book or watching a film.
  • To tackle habits, make an agreement with your family to come up with a new healthier habit. Eg. try making healthier versions of the foods you used to bake
  • To tackle fatigue, try finding a hobby that relaxes you, like yoga or going for a walk
  • To tackle social influences, talk to your friends and family and make a ‘night-out’ or ‘takeaway night’ a treat or a reward for a good day

If managing your triggers is seeming very difficult, you can always go to a nutritionist or therapist for more professional help specific to you and your needs.

Finally, I’m going to give some tips that can hep with distinguishing between physical and emotional hunger:


  • the hunger isn’t as urgent or sudden unless it has been a while since last eating
  • no particular craving for food, they will eat anything
  • not likely to eat mindlessly
  • hunger originates from the stomach (rumbling)
  • no feelings of guilt after eating


  • hunger hits quickly and urgently
  • specific cravings, for example chips or pizza
  • tends to eat mindlessly and overly without realising
  • hunger comes from the head – a person thinks about their craving
  • can cause feelings of regret or guilt

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you want more blogs like these make sure to comment down below!



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Why Fidget Spinners Are Actually Harmful


Fidget spinners: pretty much everyone knows about them. They may seem to be an innocent little toy for kids or people who struggle with stress and anxiety. However, research has shown that fidget spinners can actually be a health hazard.

Some fidget spinners contain light emitting diodes with batteries, and when these are accidentally ingested they can causes severe health problems. For example, there are two cases of children swallowing batteries from broken fidget spinners: one of a 3-year-old boy, and the other of a 4-year-old girl.

In both cases, the ingestion of lithium batteries caused deep esophageal burns and required emergency endoscopy to remove the batteries.

“Lithium batteries are used in a range of household devices, and swallowing them is a recognized health concern. In fact, according to the National Capital Poison Center, in recent years there has been an increase in reported cases — including 36 deaths.”

Researchers have asked that “if a toddler presents with a history of unexplained sudden abdominal or chest pain, the physician should inquire if any fidget spinners are in the home. As for consumers and parents, extra vigilance is recommended. Understanding where the danger lies is the first step to preventing it.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this weeks blog, if you enjoyed it feel free to comment any topics you want to see me write about down below!



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Hey guys,

So I’ve decided to add in a new aspect to my blogs, and that is to write about rare or less commonly known disorders. I’ll keep these type of blogs more short and snappy, just to give you a basic overview of different disorders you may not have heard about before. Hopefully, you will find this interesting!


Other names for it: chiraptophobia, aphenphosmphobia, thixophobia

What is it: the fear of being touched – causes significant distress and anxiety

Symptoms: panic attacks, increased heart rate and sweating, feeling anxious or depressed when thinking about being touched, crying etc..

Causes:  run in the family, caused after witnessing a traumatic event, especially if they were young at the time

Medication: beta-blockers and antidepressants can help with the symptoms of anxiety and panic

Treatment: cognitive behaviour therapy (person is taught new behaviours) , exposure therapy (gradually expose the person to their fear) , virtual reality exposure therapy (controlled exposure to phobia)

Coping mechanisms: breathing exercises, mindfulness, exercise, self-care


Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you liked it feel free to ask any questions down below!



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Weight Loss Pills


Nowadays, there is a lot craze around weight loss, in order to get that perfect body and match the modern ‘beauty standard’, especially the craze of being able to lose weight without having to exercise and restrict eating/change diet.

So today, I thought I would do something a little different and write my opinion on the topic of taking weight loss pills…

First of all, our bodies are the only ones we have. Literally, we have to manage an entire lifetime with one body only, we don’t get to replace it if its damaged, or pinch away the fat. So, surely it would be best to look after our bodies in such a way that it benefits us for our entire lifetime. Taking pills, no matter how beneficial or life changing they can be, causes our body to become dependent, and sooner or later, this will affect the workings of the body. Just imagine for yourself if you had to blow up 100 balloons, and you hd the choice to blow them all up yourself, or share the work with others. Most people will probably choose to share the work, and even though thats good at the time, your will slowly get more and more eager to share work instead of do it yourself. Taking medicine is just the same. I’m not saying people shouldn’t take medicine full stop, it was invented for a reason and has saved millions of lives. But, its better if we reduce our pill intake as much as possible, and by not taking weight loss pills this can be achieved.

Also, even though exercise and healthy eating takes a lot of effort, it has so many more benefits than just shedding fat. As seen in some of my previous blogs, exercise and healthy eating have already shown to have many benefits, and scientists are finding more and more benefits each day. Its like killing many birds with one stone – healthy living = less fat / increased life expectancy / less risk of cancer etc…

Finally,  there have been many cases of death from taking illegal weight loss drugs – it may have seemed too good to be true that you could lose weight without the effort, and that is exactly the case. For example, 23-year-old Sarah Houston died from taking a banned fat burning pill DNP in 2013, and her father said :

“I’ve no doubt there will be more tragedies.”

I will leave the source to the article on Sarah Houston in the sources section below if you want to find out more about her case.

Finally, I hope to spread a little bit more awareness about the dangers of taking weight loss pills, its not all sunshine and rainbows. And you too can make a difference, if anyone you know is taking weight loss pills or considering it, make sure they know if the pill is safe and if its the right decision.


Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you found it interesting please leave any questions or comments you may have down below!



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The link between autism and being bilingual


A new study published in Child Development has showed that children with autism could benefit from learning a second language by being able to switch between tasks easier.

As said by leading Professor Aparna Nadig:

“Over the past 15 years there has been a significant debate in the field about where there is a ‘bilingual advantage’ in terms of executive functions. Some researchers have argued convincingly that living as a bilingual person and having to switch languages unconsciously to respond to the linguistic context in which the communication is taking place increases cognitive flexibility.”

Linking Autism and bilingualism has never been done or thought of before in previous research, so the fact that a correlation has been seen could prove to be a turning point in changing the way children with Autism are educated. The study originated from Montreal, itself with a huge bilingual society, therefore if the results of the study show to be beneficial, it could be used to help children with Autism all over the world.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a rating or comment down below!



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The ‘Baby Brain’ Phenomenon


The ‘baby brain’ phenomenon is when pregnant women reportedly face cognitive problems during pregnancy. It is also known as “momnesia” and, from recent studies, has shown to affect 50-80% of women.

One of the most popular symptoms that women have reported to have experiences include being less verbally fluent and more forgetful about day to day things such as appointments and what to buy at the supermarket.

In terms of whether the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon is real, some scientists have conducted studies and found that pregnancy can actually change the brain for up to 2 years – this has been backed up by evidence, where brain scanners have shown that grey matter is much more noticeable in the brains of pregnant women.

However, critics to the idea of the ‘baby brain’ phenomena have said that the symptoms of the syndrome could just be due to general tiredness.

As a result, researchers from Deakin University, Australia have conducted another study to try and get closer to the answer of whether the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon is actually legit to just a myth. 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women were examined by their memory, attention and problem solving functions, where it as found that “general cognitive functioning, memory, and executive functioning were significantly poorer in pregnant than in control women, particularly during the third trimester.”

Even though the conclusion from this study seems to be leaning towards the legitimacy of the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon, the researchers have said that much more research and evidence will be needed before any solid conclusion is made.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you found it interesting feel free to leave your opinion down below!



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The Science Behind Generous People


A new study has shown that generous people perform acts of kindness due to the heart literally ‘telling’ you to.

The study was carried out in the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge in collaboration with the Stockholm University in Sweden, and consisted of participants being given scenarios in which they had to choose whether to give certain amounts of money to charity, to if they would rather keep their money to themselves. In addition to this, after the scenarios and experiment seemed to have ended, the experimenter asked if they could help with a questionnaire, without receiving anything in return. All of the participants had their heart rate measured.

From the study it was found that, “participants who were 10 percent better at sensing their own heartbeat gave £5 more than their peers did.” 

As said by Dr. Richard Piech, first author of the study…

“It may be that an emotionally charged situation — such as deciding whether or not to give money away — causes a change in heartbeats. “This bodily change may then bias decision-making towards the generous option in those people who are better at detecting their heartbeats.”


These findings suggest that, in some sense, people ‘listen to their heart’ to guide their selfless behaviors.”


The scientists in charge of the study next hope to find ways of possibly increasing generosity in people, as the scientists reckon that being more in-sync with our body signals will not only make us better people but could potentially have other advantages that are yet to be discovered.

Thanks for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to leave a comment down below!



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