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June 1, 2018

Weekend reads: Suffering from bitcoin addiction? A Scottish hospital may be able to help.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Go ahead and sleep in this weekend. Sleeping in on the weekends might be associated with a longer lifespan for those who otherwise suffer from sleep deprivation, according to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research. For the study, researchers looked at nearly 44,000 people in Sweden and asked them about their sleep habits. They then followed up with the participants 13 years later and found that the people who regularly slept five hours or fewer each night, including weekends, had a higher mortality rate than those who regularly got seven hours of sleep each night. However, the researchers also found that when the short sleepers slept in on weekends, their mortality rate was the same as for those who averaged seven hours of sleep each night.

    Is it time to take a Facebook break? People who take five-day breaks from Facebook feel less stressed, according to a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology. For the study, researchers observed the habits of nearly 140 people who reported using Facebook for at least three hours each day, then asked half of participants to quit using Facebook for five days. The researchers took samples of the participants' saliva to check cortisol levels to measure their stress and found that those who quit Facebook experienced a decrease in stress. However, the researchers also found that those same people reported a worsened sense of well-being, which lead author Eric Vanman said could be explained by feeling "cut off from their friends" and "left out or out of the loop."

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Scottish hospital treats patients for cryptocurrency addiction. Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland announced this week that it has launched a rehabilitation program for people who are addicted to trading cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin. The hospital in a release said, "Cryptocurrency users can get hooked by the volatile fluctuation of prices online which creates a 'high' when they buy a winning currency." However, the behavior "can be financially disastrous," the hospital added. To help people determine whether they have a cryptocurrency trading addiction, Castle Craig provides a 10-question survey. Answering "yes" to at least five questions suggests a problem. 

    Egypt's ambitious campaign to eliminate hepatitis C.  Egypt is running an ambitious campaign against hepatitis C (HCV)—and the country is succeeding. Egypt has the highest prevalence of HCV in the world, in part because of a public health campaign about 50 years ago that used unsterile needles, according to The Atlantic. When new, highly effective therapies for the disease came out about five years ago, Egypt declined to issue the drugmaker a patent, which allowed generics to hit the market—and prompted the drugmaker to agree to license the drugs for sale in Egypt at a lower price. In 2014, Egypt launched an online portal where residents could register for treatment. In three years, about 1.6 million Egyptians received HCV treatment, according to the World Bank—more than the number in the United States and Europe in that time put together.

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