Is internet gaming really a disorder?

We all suspected that something was wrong when we saw kids (and even adults) spending endless hours on gaming consoles, screens or mobile phones.

Yesterday I heard this shocking news: Video game addict teenager ends life after mother takes away mobile phone in Nagpur – http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/14/video-game-addict-teenager-ends-life-after-mother-takes-away-mobile-phone-in-nagpur-1898142.html

Well, there is something terribly wrong. And the medical community has just realised the deadly problem.

For the first time in 10 years, the World Health Organization has released a new edition of its International Classification of Diseases in July 2018. ICD-11 is the first to be fully electronic, and it has 55,000 codes compared with the 14,400 in ICD-10.
There’s a new chapter on traditional medicine as well as a new chapter on sexual
health. The diagnosis known as “gender incongruence” was moved from the mental
health category into the new sexual health chapter as a way of destigmatizing this
diagnosis.
Another change is the new diagnosis “gaming disorder.” It comes under the umbrella of addictive disorders. It’s defined as impaired control over digital or video gaming for at least a year, leading to adverse effects on personal health and overall function, [where] gaming takes priority over usual activities, like sleeping, eating, working, or socializing.

The WHO includes the following criteria for gaming disorder in the ICD-11

• impaired control over gaming;
• gaming taking precedence over other interests and daily activities;
• the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative
consequences;
• gaming being severe enough to result in significant impairment in personal,
family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning; and
• evidence of problem behaviors of at least 12 months’ duration.
On this last point, there is “flexibility, given clinical data that suggest that this may occur more rapidly in some individuals.

Potenza argued that problematic gaming has a biological basis. He referred to brain
imaging data indicating that problematic gaming is associated with decreases in resting state functional connectivity in executive control networks and is linked to negative cognitive control performance on the Stroop Task.
Other studies have shown that a craving behavioral intervention not only decreased
Internet addiction scores and gaming times but also increased cue-induced insula
activation and decreased connectivity between the insula and some brain regions, such as the precuneus, that have been implicated in cravings.
Potenza and colleagues consequently proposed a theoretical model of Internet gaming disorder in which specific targets share similarities with those for substance use disorders and behavioral addictions, such as pathologic gambling.

Therefore, Weinstein turned to the criteria for the diagnosis of behavioral addiction set
out by Mark B. Griffiths, PhD, and colleagues, which focus on the following:
• Salience,
• Mood modification,
• Tolerance,
• Withdrawal,
• Adverse consequences, and
• Repeated attempts to quit, followed by relapse.
He said that salience means that the activity becomes the most important activity in
their life and dominates their thinking, feelings, and behavior.
Similarly, mood modification, which is the subjective experience that people report as a result of engaging in the activity, is seen with both disorders. Problem Internet users say that they feel aroused or enter into a “flow” whereby they lose a sense of time and place,
Tolerance, in which greater exposure is required to achieve the same effect, is also
found in both conditions, as is withdrawal. In Internet gaming disorder, withdrawal
includes anger, tension, and/or depression;
Weinstein said that, on the basis of brain imaging studies, the neural mechanisms that
underlie Internet gaming disorder appear similar to those seen in drug addiction.
These include structural changes related to gray matter volume in regions linked to
attention, motor coordination, executive function, and perception.
Internet gaming disorder is associated with lower white matter density in brain regions
linked to decision making, behavioral inhibition, and emotional regulation, as well as alterations in the ventral striatum. Video game playing is associated with dopamine
release at levels similar to those seen in drug abuse.
Internet gaming disorder is associated with depression, anxiety, attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and alcohol use, as well as personality disorders in
adolescents.
Science, Medical science does not have any answers, any solutions.
The best that they can come up with are some medicines.
What we feared has come true. Our kids are hopelessly addicted.

A recent study (November 2018) of over 40000 kids showed the effects of mobile use.

Children’s psychological well-being starts to deteriorate after an average 1 hour of screen viewing per day, according to a study of more than 40,000 children aged 2 to 1 years.
More hours of screen time are associated with lower well-being in ages 2 to 17.
High users show less curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability
more distractibility,
more difficulty making friends,
and being more difficult to care for.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335518301827

The word of God calls this addiction by another name, idolatry. When we turn to a created thing to give us something that only the living triune God can give us, it invariably destroys us.

Yes, we want our idols to be removed, but we need to replace them with the real thing! Whatever we seek for in these games at our on the screen, seem to deliver it for some time but the price we end up paying is beyond imagination.

The answer I believe is accepting the unconditional love of God, who in Christ the sinless man, died for the sin and shame of our sin. with the power of the Holy Spirit.

When God is in the throne of our hearts, all other things take their rightful place. The mobile and the internet become powerful tools for achieving our God given potential and purpose. All these inventions and things are great tools and slaves for us, but the moment they become our master, they will destroy us.

God bless.

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The best investment I know of.

Investing and saving for the future is something we all want to do, and we are taught to do right from a small age. We call people wise when they are not short sighted but rather save for the long term, saving for the future when they are not likely to be earning.

So how far into the future should we be saving our treasures? And do we know a way to invest our treasure so that it is not destroyed.

As I write this, the share market in India is going through a slump. People are wondering where to invest and are not sure how the economy will turn.

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If you wish to know of the best way to invest your treasures, your wealth, for the long term, read on….[ The best investment consultants in the world will not be able to come up with something better that what I am going to share here.]

Laying up treasures for ourselves

Jesus Christ said do not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth.

In the Bible in the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 6 he presents us with a completely different way of investing!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Serving money brings with it one free bonus, worry: Because money is impersonal, doesn’t satisfy our need for love and acceptance and relationships
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

[This is not what is advertised, rather one is told that life is all about these things]
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? [This essential truth of the worth of human beings is not taught in schools, in fact they go to the opposite end here and say we are just llike the animals and birds]
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Mat 6:19-34 NIV)

Let these words sink in. They are profound and have influenced millions across the ages to see the world in a totally different way.

Now listen to what the Apostle Paul said “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
(1Ti 6:17-19 NIV)

Wow. God’s word clearly tells us what not to do and what to do.

What not to do:
Be arrogant
Put hope in wealth
What to do:
Put hope in God [who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment]
Do good
Be rich in good deeds
Be generous
Be willing to share

Ultimately investing in eternity is investing in relationships, firstly with the living and loving God who created you, and also with the people he places in your life. Hope you will do likewise.

Note: This will be truly possible only when you are  born again in the Spirit of the living God. Please do not try to put the cart before the horse. God bless!

Why am I created?

For a few, this question has no meaning, perhaps because they do not like to think they were created. The world and life has no meaning, no purpose outside of that they choose to give. Which I hope does not sound as self-centered or depressing as it looks.

For those who generally do not understand the impossibility of atoms and molecules getting together to form complex proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids, here is a video by the world renowned James M. Tour, who is an American synthetic organic chemist, specializing in nanotechnology. Tour is the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, United States.

This video really amazed me. How casually is it taught in schools all over these days that life just began from some primordial soup! Utter nonsense, you will realize, after you have watched the video by this organic Chemist. It is a bit technical, but really worth it.

Image result for Why am I created?

The Bible teaches us that God is love in the community of Godhead from everlasting to everlasting. This love is radical, self-sacrificing, gracious, unmerited, everlasting etc., which we may not completely understand in our present lifetime to describe it well.

New Testament writers call this ‘Agape love’. God created everything out of this love for his glory with a purpose. (Isaiah 43:7) He created man in his image and to have dominion over all his creation and care for it. He charged them to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. (Gen1:28)

This is what it means to be human in God’s sight.

God, man, and the rest of creation were in perfect unity, peace, and complete flourishing in harmony with each other just like it is in the Godhead from the beginning. This is beautiful. This is Shalom as old testament prophets call it.

This shalom is God’s purpose for all creation.

Cornelius Plantinga explains shalom as “…the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfilment, and delight…Shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight — a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” 

In shalom, we have an invitation to partner with God, to care for, and work the garden as his image bearers. (Gen 2:15)

This we call Cultural Mandate.

I wish Shalom for you, dear reader.

Fitness tracking

As a Medical Doctor who loves to stay healthy, I have  been exercising fairly regularly, or so I thought! To objectively document my moves I did try out four different wearable devices that were supposed to help give me the data I needed, [mainly my heart rate and the number of steps I walked]. Imagine my surprise when all of them turned our to be almost useless!

Heart rate tracking has to be 24 X 7 for it to be of any real use to a medical professional or even anybody who is seriously interested in monitoring their health. And most of the devices that claim to track your heart beat do so only when asked to or when you press a button! That probably explains their cheap prices too. Anything cheaper than 3000 Indian rupees or around 40 US $ most likely will be a waste of your money if you are looking for serious round the clock fitness tracking at the time of writing this.

So I did some serious research on the best wearable device for me and honed in on the one you see in this picture below!

 

 

This is a device that fits the bill perfectly for me.

Here are the plus points after over a week of constant use:

It is super comfortable to wear, so that you hardly notice it is there on your wrist.

It is water proof and shower proof

The charge easily lasts a week.

The heart rate monitoring works 24X7 and is very accurate

The app is also easy to use and gives quite detailed analysis of your day and week.

It even tells me how many stairs I have climbed and descended.

It tells me the amount and quality of my sleep.

It reminds me to move with a vibratory alert  if it detects that I have been sitting at one place for too long.

You can set your personal goals and see how you have performed daily and weekly etc.

You can even link to other apps that monitor your dietary intake.

Here are some of my reports as it looks on my phone app:

Screenshot_20180722-233150Screenshot_20180723-223556

 

I am glad to see that my results are quite good for my age! Bit at the same time I used to think that I exercise enough and take enough steps but this device was like a reality check! I realised that on the days I miss my club I was really not exercising or walking enough!

Screenshot_20180723-223624This shows that for most of the days in the past week I barely reached my own goals for steps taken! Point taken!

Thank you Garmin for this device, the Vivo HR and I would highly recommend it for anyone out there who would like to keep track of their health and activities. By the way they have a HR + which has GPS too, but as I did not need GPS tracking for my exercise I selected the HR.

Wishing you the best of health!

 

Passion meets Purpose

Whatever you are passionate about, you do. If you enjoy cave diving, it becomes your passion. You enjoy travel, it becomes your passion.

You talk about it, think about it, plan on how to do it….you understand it, tight?

What about purpose? People are born with an inbuilt need to find purpose in their lives. The eternal question that we all ask ourselves, why am I here in the first place?

And we all instinctively realise that true purpose is tied to something outside ourselves, to something greater that our self.

Why do I say that? Read on to find out.

A wise man said: Blessed are you, if you find your passion and your purpose meeting together, aligning and building up one another.

There are some professions where this happens more than others.

For example, those who are passionate about healing and find themselves in healthcare. They find purpose i their lives daily. How blessed are they indeed.

But you may ask, what about cave diving? What purpose would it serve?

Recently a few boys got trapped in a cave in Thailand and the whole world was watching how the rescue operations were underway. It was very risky. The cave was submerged, underground and the boys were hundreds of meters away from the accessible entrances.

The world’s best cave diver had this to say after the rescue mission

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Passion and Purpose. I hope you are passionate about your purpose in life. God bless!

 

 

 

The land of new beginnings

Hayastan. What a land!

As it is believed, all people who inhabit this earth today are descended from Noah and his three sons, who along with their wives were the only survivors of the great flood which happened over five thousand years ago.

The ark in which Noah and his family were kept safe landed in the mountains of the Ararat range.

After it was safe for them to go out Noah and his family left the ark and the very first steps they took was in the land presently called Armenia, or Hayastan by locals.

History tells us that their first stop after that was the place in present day Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. From there they continued to present day Iraq, and started multiplying. As recorded in the Bible, after the tower of Babel, people dispersed and settled all over the world.

The reason this account is so vital is that it shows that all humans are related. We are all brothers and sisters with one great great great grandfather, Noah.

We visited this beautiful land is Armenia and find that the people here are friendly, pretty and hopeful for a future where the Prince of Peace will bring peace through all who are called by His name.

Lunch at the art of Noah’s church in Ararat

At the church in Khor Virap where St. Gregory was incarcerated in the 3rd Century

Indians meet their distant cousin sisters in Armenia

At present Armenia as a nation has neighbours who are jealous of it and try to destroy it.

The Armenian genocide took place from 1915 when over two million people residing in western Armenia where killed and many forcibly converted to Islam by the Young Turk party. That was when western Armenia including Mount Ararat were given to Turkey.

Azerbaijan, again a part of Eastern Armenia was signed off by Stalin to settlers there who again went about destroying Christian monuments.

Inspite of such immature actions, Armenians continue to work hard, and their diaspora in various countries continue to help rebuild the nation as the new Prime Minister starts his mission following the Velvet revolution that took place in May,2018, a few weeks before we are scheduled to visit.

The country is beautiful and has many places worth visiting. It’s strategically placed between Europe and Asia and has many common features.

I wish this country all the best for the future.

When a 7 year old homeschooler publishes a book….

This is an account of a seven year old boy and his journey of writing and ultimately publishing a book, sent to me by his mother.

So …
When our son said he wants to write a book, we were like – OK go ahead!
At that time we didn’t really think that he will really be so serious about it…
 
The process started with him asking me to buy a big giant sketch book for him … and then he started putting down his thoughts on scribble pad and then asking me for spellings and then writing in extremely good n neat handwriting on the sketch book… every thought was accompanied with a drawing/sketch
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The process begins

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Neatly written notes

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Writer at work

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The universe

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A dinosaur

and then after a month he told me – Aai, the book is ready!
This happened last year in December!
 
and then I said that’s wonderful … and to tell you all frankly … we kinda forgot about it … as in never really thought we will publish it.
 
Then he heard about my books getting published and launched and he came up to me and asked – why can’t we publish his book …
 
Then the actual work started …
 
And voilà !
We introduced him to the world of Amazon Self Publishing and he himself carried out the entire operations of Amazon Self Publishing and Published it!!!
 
Obviously there was constant guidance from us but to do this entire process by himself with so much of perseverance and enthusiasm … made us really proud!
 
I don’t know how good or bad the book is! I don’t know if it is worth making into a book!
 
I just know that if a 7 year old actually thinks on this line it is commendable.
I just know that if such a 7 year old gets the required guidance and support then he is more confident to do better things in life!
 
Look at this book as a simple piece of creativity and a lot of hard work and passion!!! And then go ahead on Kindle and purchase that e-version …
 
If you require a print copy by coming weekend it should be available…
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Thank you once again for such a wonderful support and thanks a ton for showering so much love!
 
 
#Swashikshan
 
I found this account very fascinating, and hats off to young Agastya on this wonderful adventure. Of course the age of the earth is a hugely debatable issue. I personally lean towards a much more realistic age than what is popularly propagated.
Never the less, there is no denying the fact that if a seven year old homeschooler can publish a book, the sky is truly the limit for them.