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Study: Fish oil supplements may protect heart in stressful situations

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Fish oil supplements may protect the heart in stressful situations, according to a study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology

Jason Carter, a researcher at Michigan Technological University, conducted the study with 67 healthy volunteer test participants in their 20s. Over a 2-month period, they were either given 9 g of fish oil pills or 9 g of olive oil as a placebo. The test subjects were screened for heart rate, blood pressure and other related metrics. At the end of the test period, both groups took a mental arithmetic test that involved adding and subtracting numbers in their head. Their stress response was measured at that time.

“Those in the fish oil group showed blunted heart rate reactivity while they were stressed compared to those who took olive oil," Carter said. "Similarly, the total [muscle sympathetic nerve activity] reactivity to mental stress was also blunted in the fish oil group.” 

There was not much difference between the two groups at rest, however.

 

 

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Gamification and Type 1 diabetes management? There’s now an app for that

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — MySugr Companion, one of Europe’s leading and award-winning diabetes apps for iPhone, is now available for download in the U.S. App Store, the app developer announced Thursday.

Consumer technology has shown a new trend of monitoring fitness and well-being data in products like the Nike+ and Fitbit. "But Type 1 diabetics are the true champions of the quantified self-movement," commented mySugr advisory board member Tim Ferriss. 

"Currently, 371 million people around the world live with diabetes. Frequent blood-sugar monitoring and pattern analysis are key to optimal diabetes control, but the day-in-day-out monotony can lead even the most responsible patients to ‘diabetes burnout,’" stated mySugr co-founder Fredrik Debong. "MySugr Companion transforms a manual chore into a fun, interactive game. As a team including several people with Type 1 diabetes, we’re excited to be able to share our award-winning app with over 12 million Americans who manage their diabetes with insulin."

MySugr Companion is an FDA-approved diabetes management app that helps people with insulin-treated diabetes take control of their therapy through play. Taking a cue from the popularity of games among smartphone users of all ages, mySugr aims to make diabetes self-care less of a hassle and feel more like a game.

MySugr developed the app to provide motivation and positive feedback as users track their vital statistics. By turning diabetes self-management into a game, mySugr Companion helps people with diabetes to manage their therapy and stick with their program, while building up a data set to better understand how their body responds to specific foods, moods and activities. A recent study by researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and INSEAD Healthcare Management showed high and consistent retention among European mySugr Companion users, better than any other app in the health category.

"Anything that helps people with diabetes stay engaged with their self-management and reach their health goals is a step in the right direction. MySugr is a giant leap forward," noted Howard Zisser, director of clinical research and diabetes technology at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Two online videos spotlight the innovative mySugr app: http://vimeo.com/67724553 and http://vimeo.com/67717425.

Since its launch outside the U.S. in 2012, mySugr Companion has become the top diabetes management app in the Medical category of the App Store in 6 countries, including Germany, France and Italy, the company reported. 


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FDA approves Celgene drug for new cancer indication

BY Alaric DeArment

SUMMIT, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Celgene Corp. for treating a type of cancer.

Celgene announced Thursday the approval of Revlimid (lenalidomide) for treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma, also known as MCL, whose disease has relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies that have included bortezomib.

"There remains a tremendous unmet need for patients with previously treated mantle-cell lymphoma," Hackensack, N.J., cancer specialist Andre Goy said in a statement on behalf of Celgene. "This approval of lenalidomide delivers a new option and the first oral therapy in this area of lymphoma."


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