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Omron introduces new pedometer

BY Allison Cerra

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. — Omron has introduced a new pedometer that utilizes Dual-Axis acclerometer technology to record users’ daily step count.

The new HJ-720ITC combines all the activity-enhancing features of 2D smart sensor technology pedometers with Omron’s health management software. In addition to featuring Omron Dual-Axis technology, the pedometer also features an automatic reset; 42-day memory; a weekly log, which stores up to seven days of information in memory and also includes six tracking modes: track steps, aerobic "brisk" steps, time, distance, calories and fat burned. What’s more, the pedometer will be able to connect to a new Web-based solution that will be launched by Omron later this year. The pedometer also is compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Vista XP and 2000.

The HJ-720ITC pedometer carries a suggested retail price of $59.99 and is available at select sporting goods stores and pharmacies, as well as online.


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JDRF announces Type 1 diabetes treatment competition winners

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An organization focused on Type 1 diabetes research announced Monday the winners of a competition to find new ways to treat the disease.

The organization, JDRF, formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, announced the winners of what it called the first-ever public challenge to find new theoretical ideas to approach the discovery and development of glucose-responsive insulin treatments. The treatment would deliver a price amount of insulin needed in response to circulating blood glucose levels 24 hours a day, reducing or eliminating high and low blood sugars and much of the daily burden of managing diabetes.

The winners included one individual and two teams of scientists: Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Light White Innovation Technology owner Luz Blanco; University of Texas at Austin doctoral fellow Chen Xi and research partner Feng Siqian; and California Institute of Technology graduate students Mohsen Chitsaz and Alborz Mahdavi.

JDRF launched the competition a year ago under a partnership with open innovation and crowdsourcing company InnoCentive a year ago. The two selected for final review 23 applicants out of a total of 63. Three of the ideas were selected to receive the Agnes Varis GRI Grand Challenge Prize, made possible with support from the Agnes Varis Charitable Trust. JDRF said the next GRI challenge will be a "discovery phase," which will build on the winning ideas, providing experimental design and validation of the potential GRI drugs, culminating in pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies with timelines and budget estimates.

"Out-of-the-box thinking and crowdsourcing have proven to be valuable tools in research," JDRF treat therapies senior director Sanjoy Dutta said. "We look forward to beginning early discovery research based on the original ideas of these talented prize winners."


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Balance Rewards makes official debut over weekend at Walgreens, Duane Reade stores

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens over the weekend officially launched its customer loyalty program, which since Sept. 6 has garnered more than 1 million customers during an online-only, early-enrollment period.

“Our loyalty program is distinctive,” stated Graham Atkinson, Walgreens SVP and chief customer experience officer. “This comprehensive rewards program is one of Walgreens largest and most important programs in company history."

Balance Rewards offers three key benefits, all customized for the consumer:

  • Easy to Join: Customers have easy, multichannel access to join in stores at checkout or any photo kiosk, online at Walgreens.com/balance and with their mobile device through the Walgreens app or by scanning the program QR code found on signs in the stores. Savings and points can be earned when members either show their Balance Rewards card, provide their telephone number or scan their mobile rewards card from the app;

  • Instant Points: Customers can instantly earn and redeem points for thousands of items in store and online. Customers will also earn points for prescriptions where state law allows, and for purchases and activities that help them stay well, like the Walk with Walgreens program and immunizations; and

  • Endless Rewards: Customers can choose how and when to redeem their points. Points will not expire as long as customers remain active by shopping at Walgreens at least once every six months and redeem their points within three years.

“Walgreens designed Balance Rewards entirely for the consumer,” said Adam Holyk, Walgreens divisional VP loyalty and consumer insights. “We have utilized the latest technologies in loyalty programs to make it easier for customers to save, earn and redeem points. Balance Rewards also strengthens our ability to better understand our customers, meet their changing needs and treat our best customers even better. Customers will see more customized stores with improved product mixes and rewards on popular products."

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