HEALTH

Northwestern U. students win Diabetes Mine Design Challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

EVANSTON, Ill. Two Northwestern University teams took home the top two prizes awarded earlier this week in the Diabetes Mine Design Challenge, which asked teams to create new tools for improving life with diabetes.

The top winners were Eric Schickli, a graduate student in the Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation program in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Samantha Katz, a graduate student in the MMM program, a joint MBA and Master of Engineering Management program between the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

For their efforts, they received a $10,000 prize.

The competition — run by the diabetes information Web site www.diabetesmine.com — was open to anyone, and judges received more than 150 entries, many from top universities across the country.

Schickli and Katz’s winning design was called the LifeCase and LifeApp system, a combined hardware and software system for iPhones that combines a lancer, test strips, a glucose meter, wireless insulin pump management and disease management software all in one package.

“I was looking for an independent study project, and my mother is a Type 1 diabetic, so I knew this would be a way I could help diabetics like her,” Schickli said. “She also had a network of people that we could tap for user interviews.”

By interviewing diabetics and researching diabetic products, the two quickly learned the main complaint about diabetic devices.

“Diabetics have to carry around cases filled with multiple devices to test their blood glucose, and it’s so cumbersome,” Katz said. “They were all looking for devices that could improve their lives and make diabetes take up less of their day,” Schickli added. They decided that an interface that combined aspects of diabetes management into one convenient device would be ideal.

Their final design is a modified iPhone case, complete with a glucose meter, lancer and strip storage. The software interface combines diabetes management software, insulin pump management software, and logs of meals and glucose readings.

The Most Creative award ($5,000) was won by an undergraduate team of Design for America students: Kushal Amin, Can Arican, Hannah Chung, Rita Huen, Mert Iseri, Kevin Li, Justin Liu, Yuri F. Malina, Katy Mess, and Sourya Roy. Involvement in the project crossed the borders of McCormick — students from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education and Social Policy also participated.

Their design, “Jerry the Bear with Diabetes,” is an interactive stuffed toy and web-based play space for children with diabetes. Design for America is a new student-led initiative that creates social impact through human centered participatory design.

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ACG develops ‘IBS Treatment Matrix’

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHESDA, Md. The American College of Gastroenterology announced Wednesday that it will unveil “The IBS Test” and “The IBS Treatment Matrix” — two new online, interactive patient tools based on recently published ACG meta-analysis, offering evidence-based graded recommendations on the full range of options for testing and treatment of IBS — on May 29 in recognition of World Digestive Health Day.

IBS is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder which for many sufferers is marked by abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea. It is estimated that between 10% and 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from IBS symptoms, yet only 5% to 7% of adults have been diagnosed with the disease. According to studies, IBS patients make more visits to their physicians, undergo more diagnostic tests, are prescribed more medications, miss more workdays, have lower work productivity, are hospitalized more frequently, and account for greater overall direct healthcare costs than patients without IBS.

The IBS Treatment Matrix for patients was built based on a new ACG systematic review of the evidence on IBS treatments. Published in the January 2009 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology, the review offers graded recommendations on the full spectrum of options for testing and treatment of IBS, addressing everything from new IBS drugs to alternative therapies including psychotherapy and acupuncture.

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Pollen.com identified as reliable source for health information

BY Michael Johnsen

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. SDI on Wednesday announced that its Pollen.com allergy site received the Health On the Net Foundation’s Code of Conduct certification, identifying it as an internationally reliable source of health information.

Pollen.com’s audience has grown by more than 466% since the site’s launch in 2002. In April 2009, the site and network had more than 26.5 million page views.

“With our growing audience, the Health On the Net certification gives our visitors and advertisers further confidence that the information we are providing is a gold standard – it’s trustworthy, timely and credible,” stated Glenn Connery, associate director of the application development/Web group for SDI.

Certification by HON means that Pollen.com provides sound, authoritative information; data confidentiality and privacy; proper attribution of sources; and transparency, such as a clear delineation of advertising and editorial content.

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