This week in ideas: Fighting addiction with implants, using VR to educate, Amazon Prime gets primer

Welcome to This Week in Ideas, where we share the best stories we’ve been discussing amongst ourselves. We hope these stories nourish your curiosity.

Can we treat opioid addiction with implants? There’s no silver bullet for America’s opioid abuse problem, but a new clinical trial suggests some simple, novel solutions are on the way: “In a 15-minute in-office visit, a doctor will insert four white, tube-like flexible implants into a patient’s upper arm. Those implants are each the size of a matchstick and will drip-feed Buprenorphine directly into the bloodstream and up to the brain. The drug will then fasten onto the same neural receptors triggered by heroin or prescription narcotic painkiller use, effectively curbing one’s desire to get high.”

Better haircuts thanks to virtual reality: Virtual reality startup 8i (which you can learn about in a forthcoming Freethink episode!) is about to change how hair stylists learn their craft: “The VR experience features two photo-realistic humans—a stylist and a client—in a 360-degree environment. Students can step into the hairdressers’ shoes, and shift position in the virtual salon to watch from any angle.”

Google’s AI wants you to respect its privacy: “Googlers Martín Abadi and David G. Andersen have willingly allowed three test subjects — neural networks named Alice, Bob and Eve — to pass each other notes using an encryption method they created themselves.” Good thing Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.”

Live sports through Amazon Prime are on the way: The company is “in talks” with the NBA, the MLB, the NFL, and others about the possibility of a streaming service for Prime members.

“Digital detoxes” don’t work. Try these 4 skills instead
Digital distractions have become a ubiquitous part of work and life. But these distractions begin with emotional discomfort.
This $1 pill cuts binge drinking
Naltrexone, a medication that costs less than $1 per dose, helped people cut back on their binge drinking in a small study
New fentanyl vaccine could help avoid relapses and overdoses
An in-development fentanyl vaccine that prevents the drug from entering the brain could one day help people avoid relapsing or overdosing.
Cheap blood pressure med could help treat alcoholism
Spironolactone, a cheap medication used to treat high blood pressure, might also be able to help people overcome alcohol use disorder.
Monkeys’ alcohol consumption drops 50% after hormone therapy
Heavy-drinking monkeys cut their alcohol consumption by 50% after researchers treated them with a hormone called “FGF21.”
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