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FUTURE SCOPE

July 1, 2014

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Health | Humanity

Shorter-Term Strategies to Break Addiction

Individuals who are prone to addiction typically discount the future by choosing instant gratification (e.g., drugs) over a long-term benefit (e.g., health). Ironically, those with higher rates of future discounting may be more responsive to treatment to improve self-control.

In a study of people addicted to stimulants, heroin, or tobacco, participants with greater concern for the future were less responsive to training to delay gratification; the reverse was found for those who "live in the moment."

The key appears to be to improve an addicted individual's working memory, which can enhance self-control, according to Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

"A simple cognitive test that measures the degree to which individuals live in the moment might help us personalize treatments for their addictions," he said in a press statement.

Source: Association for Psychological Science, www.psychological science.org. The study "A Quantitative Signature of Self-Control Repair: Rate-Dependent Effects of Successful Addiction Treatment" by Warren K. Bickel et al. was published in Clinical Psychological Science, March 27, 2014.

Climate Change | EartH

Bracing for Rising Seas

Freshwater sources may turn to saltwater, wetlands that helped prevent erosion may disappear, and valuable beachfront property may be constantly flooded. These are a few of the possible effects of climate change that places like Miami need to begin preparing for, ac- cording to Florida International University scientist Rene Price and other climate researchers.

How soon, how fast, and how much sea levels will rise by the end of the century are still unanswered questions, but reliable long-term predictions may be available within the next five years, researchers believe.

Miami skyline. Scientists anticipate more-precise forecasts for future sea-level increases.

"In Miami, we're at the forefront of sea-level rise," Price says. Globally, sea levels are rising at about 2.8 millimeters a year, and climate models project that the rate will accelerate. By 2100, sea levels could rise anywhere between 0.3 meter and 1 meter. A more-precise forecast would help planners to prepare.

"That means we'll know what to expect and have 70 years to plan," says Price. "In a subject that has so much uncertainty, this gives us the gift of long-term planning."

Source: National Science Foundation, www.nsf.gov.

Management | CommErCE

IT's Next Challenge: "Bring Your Own App"

Workers are increasingly using not just their own de- vices, but also their own favorite applications. This in- creased self-sufficiency comes as a surprise to IT managers, who grossly underestimate the practice, according to a recent survey by LogMeIn Inc. and Edge Strategies.

The study's authors suggest that the trend is a result of two major drivers in IT: a profusion of cloud services and the "consumerization" of professional services. In other words, instead of asking the office IT manager for help sending large files to a client, employees are opting for services like Dropbox.

Since employees are bypassing the IT department's solutions, some businesses may begin to question the need for an IT department. So, IT professionals, take heed.

"We believe that the role of IT needs to be fundamentally redefined if IT professionals want to regain their strategic voice," warns W. Sean Ford, CMO of LogMeIn.

Source: LogMeIn Inc., www.logmein.com.

Medicine | SCi/tECH

WordBuzz: Nanotheranostics

We are rapidly entering the "age of nanotheranostics," says Raj Bawa, president and patent agent for Bawa Biotech LLC and an adjunct professor at Rensse- laer Polytechnic Institute.

Medical nanotechnology deployed for both diagnosing and treating disease gives us nanotheranostics. These novel, "combination drugs" will blur the lines between physical devices and chemical drugs, he says, and offer opportunities for progress in medical specialties such as oncology, neuroscience, cardiology, and immunology.

Bawa will be speaking on nano medicine at WorldFuture 2014: What If, the World Future Society's annual conference, in July. ?


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Source: Futurist, The


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