Gaming disorder [GD] risk has been associated with the way gamers bond with their visual representation (i.e., avatar) in the game-world. More specifically, a gamer's relationship with their avatar has been shown to provide reliable mental health information about the user in their offline life, such as their current and prospective GD risk, if appropriately decoded.
To contribute to the paucity of knowledge in this area, 565 gamers (Mage = 29.3 years; SD =10.6) were assessed twice, six months apart, using the User-Avatar-Bond Scale (UABS) and the Gaming Disorder Test. A series of tuned and untuned artificial intelligence [AI] classifiers analysed concurrently and prospectively their responses.
Findings showed that AI models learned to accurately and automatically identify GD risk cases, based on gamers' reported UABS score, age, and length of gaming involvement, both concurrently and longitudinally (i.e., six months later). Random forests outperformed all other AIs, while avatar immersion was shown to be the strongest training predictor.
Study outcomes demonstrated that the user-avatar bond can be translated into accurate, concurrent and future GD risk predictions using trained AI classifiers. Assessment, prevention, and practice implications are discussed in the light of these findings.
The Wilms’ tumour gene (WT1) has previously been described as an oncogene in several neoplasms of humans, including melanoma, and its expression increases cancer cell proliferation. Recent reports associate the expression of the PPARβ/δ gene (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta/delta) with the downregulation of WT1 in human melanoma and murine melanoma cell lines. The aim of this work was to analyse the expression of WT1 and its association with PPARβ/δ in samples of healthy and melanoma-affected skin of horses by immunohistochemistry. WT1 protein expression was detected in healthy skin, mainly in the epidermis, hair follicle, sebaceous gland and sweat gland, while no expression was observed in equine melanoma tissues. Moreover, it was observed that PPARβ/δ has a basal expression in healthy skin and that it is overexpressed in melanoma. These results were confirmed by a densitometric analysis, where a significant increase of the WT1-positive area was observed in healthy skin (128.66 ± 19.84 pixels 106) compared with that observed in melanoma (1.94 ± 0.04 pixels 106). On the other hand, a positive area with an expression of PPARβ/δ in healthy skin (214.94 ± 11.85 pixels 106) was significantly decreased compared to melanoma (624.86 ± 181.93 pixels 106). These data suggest that there could be a regulation between WT1 and PPARβ/δ in this disease in horses.