"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Can a web-based game really improve blood sugar control for individuals with diabetes?

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When it involves serious health issues, you'd think a sport can be unlikely to assist. But oh A recent study The variety of individuals with diabetes may change your mind.

Researchers published within the September 2017 issue of Diabetes care Describe a study through which individuals with diabetes participated in a competitive online game designed to teach participants about ways to enhance blood sugar control. The results were encouraging.

How a game improved blood sugar

In this recent study, 456 patients with poorly controlled diabetes were randomly assigned to certainly one of two groups:

  • Group 1 participated in a web-based or phone-based educational game that asked two questions on diabetes management every week for six months. Later, answers and explanations were presented. The group also received a booklet on citizenship that features questions on citizenship within the United States.*
  • Group 2 received online or phone-based questions on citizenship every week for six months, in addition to a diabetes self-management booklet.*

(*The researchers desired to have a control group that was just like the diabetes management game group, except that they provided details about diabetes. They provided details about citizenship. Both groups received a citizenship lesson and located diabetes information; the one difference was how that information was delivered so the investigators could say with more confidence that it was exercise that improved blood sugar.)

Each participant was assigned to a team. Points were awarded for proper answers, and scores were posted in order that other participants could compare team and individual performance (with using pseudonyms to guard patient confidentiality). Members of the winning teams were awarded $100 gift certificates. In addition, individuals with scores in the highest 30% also received a $100 gift certificate.

At the tip of the six-month trial, people in Group 1 had higher blood sugar control than those in Group 2. The improvement was even greater 12 months after the sport's launch. In fact, the development seen in group 1 patients with the worst blood sugar control was just like that present in studies of diabetic patients starting a brand new blood sugar-lowering drug.

Why is that this vital?

Keeping blood sugar near normal is an important a part of diabetes care because it will probably prevent serious complications corresponding to nerve damage, vision loss and kidney failure. Although many medications (including oral medications and insulin injections) can be found to lower blood sugar, non-drug options, including additional weight reduction and eating regimen changes, will be simpler than medications. Fewer unwanted effects can, and do, occur. With health advantages beyond blood sugar control.

Although previous research was inconclusive, this recent study strongly suggests that participating in a web-based game can significantly improve blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes.

Interpret with caution.

Despite the encouraging results of this study, it will be important to acknowledge some limitations, including:

  • Almost all participants were male. If more women were included, the outcomes may be different.
  • To enroll, all study subjects needed to have access to the Internet and e-mail, so the outcomes may not apply to those less proficient in these technologies.
  • The 456 individuals with diabetes who accomplished the study represented lower than 3% of those considered potentially eligible for enrollment. Therefore, this group's response to a web-based game may not reflect the final population of individuals with diabetes.
  • It is unclear whether improvements in blood sugar after the six-month comparison will last beyond 12 months.
  • It is uncertain whether the net game would have been as successful without the monetary rewards. In the “real world” such privileges usually are not generally available.

what's next?

I feel we're just firstly of understanding the potential of online and phone-based technologies to enhance health. Diabetes is just certainly one of many chronic diseases that will be higher managed with patient engagement, motivation and self-management. It is not far-fetched to imagine that modern use of those technologies will probably be useful for health, quality of life and even longevity.