HEALTH

JDRF honors Roche with Chancellor’s Award

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS A maker of blood-glucose meters, infusion pumps and other diabetes management tools was awarded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for its long-standing corporate partnership with the organization.

Roche was given the Chancellor’s Award at JDRF’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., and was noted as “an exceptional partner in the education and management of diabetes.” Roche and JDRF work together on the Bag of Hope program, which provides education materials on juvenile diabetes and a free Accu-Chek blood-glucose meter. The bags contain products and materials valued at about $100, which are distributed to families by local Roche and JDRF representatives.

Since 2004, Roche has committed almost $10 million to the Bag of Hope program.

“Roche is an exceptional partner in the education and management of diabetes. During the past several years, the Bag of Hope program has become the cornerstone of our outreach program to families with newly diagnosed children, and we thank Roche for its continued funding of this incredibly important educational initiative,” said Courtney Davies, national director of corporate relations at JDRF.

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Diabetic eye disease may be curbed with help of computer programs

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Computerized systems may be able to detect early eye problems related to diabetes, according to a University of Iowa analysis.

The analysis, which was published in the Apr. 16 issue of Ophthalmology, found that computer programs may aid in finding diabetic eye disease and related issues. By analyzing 16,670 people with diabetes with two programs — EyeCheck and Challenge 2009 — a trained technician would use a digital camera to take pictures of the retina, then electronically transfer the images to computers, which can automatically detect the small hemorrhages (internal bleeding) and signs of fluid that are hallmarks of diabetes damage.

"It is an important question: whether a computer can substitute for a human to detect the initial signs of diabetic eye disease," said Michael Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and an ophthalmologist with UI Hospitals and Clinics. "Our analysis shows that the computerized programs appear to be as accurate and thorough as a highly trained expert in determining if these initial signs of an eye problem are developing in someone with diabetes. Once the initial problems are found, an eye specialist can treat the patient."

The researchers said that while the programs significantly could reduce the number of patients with diabetic-related vision problems, the images were prescreened to ensure the computers could analyze them and the computer-based assessments were compared with assessments done by only one human reader at a time, which may not reflect a comparison to assessments by multiple readers.

 

"A computer alone will never be a substitute for the care of a good doctor, but it’s exciting to think that computers can be partners in finding the patients at risk of blindness who should see an ophthalmologist," said study author Vinit Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences.

 

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CRN addresses senatorial committee about dietary supplement use by seniors

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition last week testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging concerning the committee’s “Dietary Supplements: What Seniors Need to Know” hearing.

In his remarks, Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO, reassured the more than 150 million Americans who take dietary supplements each year that “the dietary supplement industry is committed to manufacturing and marketing high quality, safe and beneficial products that have a valuable role in a wellness regimen. This industry is likewise committed to ensuring consumers receive truthful, accurate and non-misleading information on dietary supplements.”

Mister noted the supplement industry—through its five trade associations—had developed a variety of voluntary, self-regulatory programs that address issues that potentially tarnish the industry, and pointed specifically to the $1.5 million unrestricted grant provided by CRN to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to monitor dietary supplement ads to help ensure they are truthful and not misleading. 

Mister advised that new legislation introduced last week by Sens. Orrin Hatch , R-Utah, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would provide additional funding and accountability for the Food and Drug Administration in further enforcing the law, and he urged Congress to support that bill.

Mister also referred to consumer research that demonstrates that dietary supplement consumers are more likely than those who don’t take supplements to also engage in other healthy habits such as trying to eat a healthy diet, exercising regularly and visiting their doctors. 

“Dietary supplements help to preserve good health and help reduce the risks of certain chronic diseases,” he said. “Vitamins fill in nutritional gaps, and are especially important when seniors fail to get a nutritious diet or aging itself reduces their bodies’ natural ability to absorb nutrients from conventional food.” 

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