'Cell phones could help manage diabetes'

Researchers find that using mobile communications technology has the potential to help patients with many chronic diseases, including diabetes.

By UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MEDICAL CENTER
August 9, 2011 10:53
1 minute read.
A  cell phone user [illustrative]

Cellphone user 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

An interactive computer software program appears to be effective in helping patients manage their Type 2 diabetes using their mobile phones, according to a new study by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers. The study is being published in the September issue of the journal Diabetes Care. The study, one of the first to scientifically examine mobile health technology, found that a key measure of blood sugar control – the amount of hemoglobin A1c in a person’s blood – was lowered by an average of 1.9 percent over a period of one year in patients using the mobile health software. The findings support the further exploration of mobile health approaches to manage many chronic conditions, including diabetes.

“These results are very encouraging,” says Charlene C. Quinn, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the principal investigator. “The 1.9 percent decrease in A1c that we saw in this research is significant. Previous randomized clinical trials have suggested that just a 1 percent decrease in A1c will prevent complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.”

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The study indicates that using mobile phones, the Internet and other mobile communications technology to keep patients healthy may have broad applications to help patients and their physicians manage many health conditions.

“Mobile health has the potential to help patients better self-manage any chronic disease, not just diabetes,” Dr. Quinn explains. “This is one of the first large, reported, randomized clinical studies examining the mobile health industry, which is rapidly growing. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration just last month released draft guidance on how it intends to regulate the field. Our results can help define the science behind this new strategy for disease management.”

This article was originally published by University of Maryland Medical Center.


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