Simulated gambling products, like loot boxes and social casino games, contain gambling elements, but are not classified as gambling. They are available to minors, raising concerns about a “gateway effect” into gambling. This study examined the time course of young people's engagement in simulated and monetary gambling, and associations between simulated gambling and gambling problems and harm. A necessary, although not sufficient, condition for simulated games leading to real money gambling is that simulated play must come first.
Participants were 1,026 young adults (aged 18–25 years) who played video games in the last year. They reported the age at which they first took part in seven simulated and twelve monetary gambling products, and current gambling problems and harm.
First use of loot boxes and video games with gambling content tended to precede monetary gambling. Forms where gambling is a core gameplay element, such as social casino and demonstration games, tended to follow some monetary gambling forms. Engagement in most simulated gambling products was associated with greater harm from monetary gambling.
The findings leave open the possibility of a catalyst pathway from youth engagement in loot boxes and games with gambling content to later monetary gambling, but causal psychosocial mechanisms remain unclear. However, a pathway from social casino and demonstration games to monetary gambling appears less likely, which may instead reflect containment or substitution effects. Simulated gambling disproportionately attracts youth who are vulnerable to gambling problems and harm, indicating the need for consumer protection measures.
The Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius) is the only vertebrate known to produce the powerful psychedelic, 5-MeO-DMT, which is easily-accessible form the animal's exterior glands. This paper seeks to present the biocultural (ecological and cultural) history, and conservation concerns of I. alvarius. Discovery of 5-MeO-DMT in I. alvarius was first reported in 1965 and 1967 (Erspamer et al.), and eventually led to the popular psychedelic use of this species after a pamphlet was published in 1984 (Most). Its mostly unmitigated use in for-profit spirituality, wellness, and adventurism has driven erroneous, coerced, and exploitive narratives of ancient Indigenous use – increasing: exploitation of I. alvarius, biocultural erosion, and malpractice of 5-MeO-DMT. Reconciliation of diverse needs is intellectually and financially challenging. It must be careful of approaches that are implicitly biased by a demand that extracts, appropriates, and trades in Indigenous and wellness motifs – but can be reached from the reconciliation and intersection of Indigenous and Western science and priorities. Few conservation-oriented studies and outreach elements concerning I. alvarius exist, and most have been supported by crowdfunding.
This scoping review employed a multifaceted conceptualization of well-being to examine how psilocybin use affects well-being and related sub-concepts in healthy individuals. It investigated which factors influence the relationship between psilocybin use and well-being, what research protocols have been employed, and what underlying mechanisms have been proposed in existing studies.
A comprehensive literature search in line with the PRISMA guidelines was conducted. Scopus, PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were searched for peer-reviewed articles about psilocybin and well-being in healthy populations.
Studies were heterogeneous in regard to study objectives, study design, study procedure, sample size and psilocybin dosage. In all studies, psilocybin use led to positive well-being-related outcomes for the majority of participants. Facets of well-being positively affected by psilocybin use in this review were self-acceptance, positive relationships, and meaning/purpose in life.
This scoping review provided preliminary evidence for the beneficial effects of psilocybin on well-being and related sub-concepts such as self-acceptance, positive relationships, and meaning/purpose in life in healthy individuals. Ego-dissolution, unity, connectedness, and mystical-type experiences are interrelated concepts that seem to be crucial for explaining such positive well-being-related effects of psilocybin. Under conducive conditions, the use of psilocybin may contribute to healthy functioning, through broad and sustained improvements in a variety of well-being concepts. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the studies, more definite conclusions require further research with a rigorous and homogeneous design.
The gamblification of UK football has resulted in a proliferation of in-game marketing associated with gambling and gambling-like products such as cryptocurrencies and financial trading apps. The English Premier League (EPL) has in response banned gambling logos on shirt-fronts from 2026 onward. This ban does not affect other types of marketing for gambling (e.g., sleeves and pitch-side hoardings), nor gambling-like products. This study therefore aimed to assess the ban's implied overall reduction of different types of marketing exposure.
We performed a frequency analysis of logos associated with gambling, cryptocurrency, and financial trading across 10 broadcasts from the 2022/23 EPL season. For each relevant logo, we coded: the marketed product, associated brand, number of individual logos, logo location, logo duration, and whether harm-reduction content was present.
There were 20,941 relevant logos across the 10 broadcasts, of which 13,427 (64.1%) were for gambling only, 2,236 (10.7%) were for both gambling and cryptocurrency, 2,014 (9.6%) were for cryptocurrency only, 2,068 (9.9%) were for both cryptocurrency and financial trading, and 1,196 (5.7%) were for financial trading only. There were 1,075 shirt-front gambling-associated logos, representing 6.9% of all gambling-associated logos, and 5.1% of all logos combined. Pitch-side hoardings were the most frequent marketing location (52.3%), and 3.4% of logos contained harm-reduction content.
Discussion & Conclusions
Brand logos associated with gambling, cryptocurrency, and financial trading are common within EPL broadcasts. Approximately 1 in 20 gambling and gambling-like logos are subject to the EPL's voluntary ban on shirt-front gambling sponsorship.
Smartphones extend the situational characteristics of sports betting beyond those available with land-based and computer platforms. This study examined 1) the role of situational features and betting platforms in harmful betting behaviours and short-term betting harm, and 2) whether people with more gambling problems have preferred situational features, engage more in harmful betting behaviours, and experience more severe short-term betting harm.
An ecological momentary assessment analysed 1,378 betting sessions on sports, esports or daily fantasy sports, reported by 267 respondents (18–29 years; 50.9% male) over 10 weeks.
Factor analysis revealed five situational features of betting sessions: 1) quick, easy access from home, 2) ability to bet anywhere anytime, 3) privacy while betting, 4) greater access to promotions and betting options, and 5) ability to use electronic financial transactions. Regression models underpinned the analyses. Greater short-term betting harm was significantly associated with the ability to bet anywhere anytime, privacy when betting, and greater access to promotions and betting options. Betting sessions when these features were prioritised were more likely to involve impulsive betting, use of betting inducements, and betting with more operators. Respondents with more gambling problems were more likely to prioritise privacy and the ability to bet anywhere anytime; and to bet on in-game events, use promotional inducements, bet with more operators, and report greater betting harm.
Discussion and conclusions
Certain situational features of sports betting are empirically associated with engagement and subsequent harm. Only smartphone betting combines all three features associated with betting harm.
Resting-state brain activity may be associated with the ability to perform tasks; however, a multimodal approach involving resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potentials (ERPs) has not been widely used to investigate addictive disorders.
We explored resting-state fMRI and auditory oddball ERP values from 26 with internet gaming disorder (IGD) patients and 27 age- and intelligence quotient-matched healthy controls (HCs). To assess the characteristics of resting-state fMRI, we calculated regional homogeneity (ReHo), amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF), and fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF); we also calculated the P3 component of the ERPs.
Compared with HCs, the individuals with IGD exhibited significant decreases in ReHo and fALFF values in the left inferior occipital gyrus, increased ReHo and ALFF values in the right precuneus, increased ALFF in the left superior frontal gyrus, and lower P3 amplitudes in the midline centro-parietal area during the auditory ERP task. Furthermore, the regional activity of resting-state fMRI in the right inferior temporal gyrus and the occipital regions were positively correlated with the P3 amplitudes in IGD patients, whereas ReHo values of the left hippocampus and the right amygdala were negatively correlated with P3.
Discussion and conclusions
Our results suggest that IGD patients have difficulty interacting effectively with cognitive function and sensory processing, although its interpretations need some cautions. The findings in this study will broaden the overall understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie IGD pathophysiology.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy (P-AT) has been shown to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety symptoms, and is likely to be approved in the United States (US) in the coming years. However, concerns about participant safety in these early trials have surfaced, including allegations of sexual misconduct. This paper aims to illuminate how potential risks have been communicated to P-AT participants via informed consent documents and to suggest how existing policy might be modified given the unique risks involved in P-AT trials.
Publicly available informed consent forms (ICFs) were gathered by searching clinicaltrials.gov. Queries were applied to filter trials involving the use of a classical psychedelic (psilocybin, LSD) or psychedelic-adjacent substance (MDMA, ketamine) in tandem with psychotherapeutic intervention and those with a status of “completed,” “recruiting,” or “active.”
Nineteen ICFs met inclusion criteria and were reviewed to determine what risks, benefits, and safety protocols were communicated to participants in their respective trials. The primary finding from this review of ICFs from P-AT trials revealed that studies were in compliance with federal regulation. However, there were missing elements related to the vulnerability experienced while under the effects of psychedelics that warrant inclusion in future ICFs in P-AT trials.
Although the ICFs for P-AT trials examined in this study covered several important areas related to risk, benefits, safety, and accountability as required by federal regulations in the US, future research should consider ways to expand this content in order to assure that consent is truly informed prior to enrolling subjects.
In the digital age, Internet addiction (IA) was deemed an epidemic and few treatments had been effectively developed for it. Here, we proposed a solution-focused group counseling (SFGC) as a potentially solution to reduce Internet addiction among college students. The present study examined the short- and long-term effect of a five-week solution-focused group counseling intervention on Internet addiction.
Thirty-two participants were recruited and randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group, and twenty-six participants completed the whole intervention. The experimental group (n = 14) received the intervention, while control group (n = 12) did not. The revised version of the Chinese Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS-R), the Future Time Perspective, and resting-state EEG were administered pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at two follow-up tests (one month and six months after intervention).
The results showed that the scores of the CIAS-R in the experimental group were significantly decreased after intervention, and these effects could be sustained for one month and six months follow-ups. Additionally, the intervention conducted an increase in future time perspective. EEG results further suggested that the alpha, beta, and gamma absolute power decreased after the intervention.
These results from the pilot-study primarily suggested that solution-focused group counseling could be an effective intervention for Internet addiction.