HEALTH

Sakar International enters wearable tech market

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS – Sakar International on Tuesday unveiled four new Vivitar branded fitness trackers at the 2015 International CES, expanding the company's line of health and wellness products into the wearable tech market.
 
Designed to make achieving health and fitness goals fun, simple and affordable, the new Bluetooth products combine fitness tracking, complete smartwatch functionality and heart rate monitoring into sleek, stylish bracelet-style devices. Each syncs to any Bluetooth smartphone or tablet to record fitness progress by pairing with any fitness app.
 
"Let's face it: getting and staying in shape is hard enough, and complicated technology that's a chore to use only makes it more difficult," stated Liza Abrams, VP of licensing with Sakar/Vivitar. "These new wearable Vivitar fitness trackers will never get in the way. They're extremely user-friendly and they look great too, which makes it much more likely that you'll incorporate fitness into your daily routine."
 
The new Vivitar fitness collection includes the Fitness Tracker wristwatch, the Fitness Smartwatch, the Activity Track Smartwatch  and the Fitness Pro Smartwatch.
 
The Vivitar fitness collection is expected to appear on retail stores in Q2 2015, with suggested retail ranging from $19.99 to $79.99. 
 
Vivitar is a provider of photographic, audio and optic devices and related accessories with a 75-year heritage of technology innovation and affordability. Building off the success of its Series-1 lenses and flashes, the company has steadily expanded its product portfolio to include cameras, camcorders, accessories, tablets and now wearables tailored to the needs of today's families.

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HEALTH

Walgreens Flu Index: Flu continues to rage across the South

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — According to the Walgreens Flu Index for the week beginning Jan. 5, Knoxville, Tenn. is the No. 1 designated market area with flu activity, followed by the Paducah, Ky. area and Chattanooga, Tenn. Overall, Tennessee is the No. 2 state with flu activity, following Kentucky. 
 
For the week beginning Jan. 5, the top 10 DMAs with flu activity are:
 
  1. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  2. Paducah, Ky. – Cape Girardeau, Mo. – Harrisburg, Ill.;
  3. Chattanooga, Tenn.;
  4. Tri-Cities, Tenn. – Va.;
  5. Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  6. Columbia, S.C.;
  7. Nashville, Tenn.;
  8. Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa), Ala.;
  9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; and
  10. Austin, Texas. 
 
The top 10 states with flu activity are:
 
  1. Kentucky;
  2. Tennessee;
  3. Mississippi;
  4. Oklahoma;
  5. Alabama;
  6. Arkansas;
  7. South Carolina;
  8. Texas;
  9. Louisiana; and
  10. Colorado.
 
The top 10 DMAs as measured by flu activity gains from Dec. 29 through Jan. 5 are: 
 
  1. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  2. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.;
  3. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.;
  4. Tulsa, Okla.;
  5. Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa), Ala.;
  6. Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.;
  7. Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  8. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.;
  9. Huntsville-Decatur (Florence), Ala.; and
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah. 
 
The top 10 states as measured by flu activity gains from Dec. 20 through Jan. 5 are:
 
  1. Arkansas;
  2. Oklahoma;
  3. Utah;
  4. Virginia;
  5. Alabama;
  6. Nebraska;
  7. Kentucky;
  8. Idaho;
  9. Tennessee; and
  10. New Mexico. 
 
The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. With the ability to generate hyper-local data that’s as specific as a single zip code, the index aims to drive consumer awareness and prevention within communities, while also serving as a valuable resource for health departments, media and others at the local level.
 

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Diabetics who intensively control their blood glucose live longer

BY Michael Johnsen

 

BETHESDA, Md. — People with type 1 diabetes who intensively control their blood glucose early in their disease are likely to live longer than those who do not, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health released Tuesday. The findings are the latest results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and its follow-up, the Epidemiology of Diabetes Control and Complications study. 
 
“The outlook for people with type 1 diabetes continues to improve,” stated Catherine Cowie of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the primary funder of the study. “These results show that by tightly controlling their blood glucose, people with type 1 diabetes can live longer.”
 
Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in younger people and was formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin, and people with type 1 need to take daily insulin to live.
 
Results were published online Jan. 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
 
 
Beginning in 1983, the DCCT/EDIC study enrolled 1,441 people between ages 13 and 39 with recent onset type 1 diabetes. In the DCCT, half were assigned at random to intensive blood glucose control designed to keep blood glucose as close to normal as safely possible, and half to the conventional treatment at the time. Both groups were similar in age. The DCCT ended in 1993 when the intensive control group was found to have substantially less eye, nerve and kidney disease. All participants were taught intensive blood glucose control and followed during the ongoing EDIC. Blood glucose control has been similar in both groups since DCCT ended.
 
Researchers found 107 deaths among DCCT/EDIC participants, who were followed an average of 27 years from enrollment. There were 64 deaths in the group that had initially received standard treatment and 43 deaths in the intensive treatment group, a 33% reduction in deaths. The most common causes of death — not all necessarily related to diabetes — were cardiovascular diseases (22%), cancer (20%), acute diabetes complications — where blood glucose became dangerously high or low (18%) — and accidents/suicide (17%).
 
More people in the conventional treatment group than the intervention group died from diabetic kidney disease (six vs. one). The study also found that higher average glucose levels and increased protein in the urine — a marker of diabetic kidney disease — were the major risk factors for death.
 
“These results build on earlier studies, which suggested that increased protein in the urine largely accounts for shorter lifespans for people with type 1 diabetes,” said the study’s lead author, Trevor Orchard, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “These results further emphasize the importance of good early glucose control, as this reduces the risk for increased protein in the urine in general, as well as diabetic kidney disease.”
 
Since the 1993 publication of the findings, the DCCT intensive treatment has become standard practice for type 1 diabetes. The new findings show that reductions in diabetes complications resulting from tight glucose control translate into longer lifespans.
 
“Thanks to the findings over the years from the landmark DCCT/EDIC study, millions of people with diabetes may prevent or delay debilitating and often fatal complications from the disease,” said NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers. “NIH’s mission is to help improve lives through biomedical research. These kinds of results provide hard evidence that what we do helps people live longer, healthier lives.”
 

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