Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - Gwinnett Medical Center - (Page 46)

Virtual HealtH by Carey rossi L It’s Not Just a Game ate last year, gamers snagged health headlines. In a span of three weeks, players mapped the structure of a protein enzyme that plays a key role in how the AIDS virus reproduces. In comparison, researchers have been working on this project for more than a decade. How did the gamers do it? By playing, an online game produced by the University of Washington that presents complex puzzles that attempt to unlock the protein structure of diseases and other substances. Because proteins are a part of so many diseases, knowing their structure can help develop drugs that target them better. According to the game’s website, “Players can design brandnew proteins that could help prevent or treat important diseases.” It works. Four scientific peer-reviewed papers list gamers as authors, and this may be just the beginning. A number of puzzles are left to be solved. Just think, your gaming abilities could create the next big health headline. Post Your Progress If you’re having a hard time sticking to your health goals, consider linking up with like-minded members of Facebook, Twitter or Flickr or programs such as Weight Watchers or SparkPeople. According to two studies published last year in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, people with health concerns who used online programs were more likely to be successful if those programs gave the users confidence in their ability to make healthy changes. Both studies concluded that improving social support, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and self-regulation is what led to healthier habits. Change Is Good When Facebook changes its layout, your news feed is wrought with complaints. What’s the big deal? Humans are creatures of habit by nature, and when things don’t go as planned or as we predict, we view this as a threat. Apparently, we find pleasure in our cocoon of predictability. According to a recent article in Psychological Science, people who already knew the ending of a story before reading it enjoyed the story more. This could explain our love of television reruns and watching movies again and again. 46 Vim & Vigor • Sum m er 2 012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - Gwinnett Medical Center

Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - Gwinnett Medical Center
Phil’s Feature
Good as New
With Open Hearts
The Breakfast Club
Arthritis Answers
A TV Guide to Radiology
Take Aim
It Might NOT Be Cancer
Colin Firth
Step Up to the Plate
Life After Cancer
Get Dad to the Doc
Virtual Health
PrimeTime Health
Half the Man He Was
Have a Happy Birth Day
Out of the White Coat
Transforming Healthcare

Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - Gwinnett Medical Center