HEALTH

USC teams with VSP Global’s innovation lab on eyewear wearable pilot

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES – The University of Southern California Center for Body Computing has teamed with VSP Global's innovation lab, The Shop, and the USC Roski Eye Institute to take wearable health for the first time to the eyes. The pilot study, which kicked off at an event on Aug. 27 at USC, will assess the users' engagement with and feedback of the smartphone app synched to the embedded sensor in the first-of-its-kind prototype optical frame, Level, created by The Shop.

The study comprised of USC employee daily eyeglass wearers has participants tracking a wearer's steps, calories burned, distance traveled and activity time. The biometrics are tracked by technology seamlessly embedded in the temple of the frame – including an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope – and synched wirelessly via Bluetooth to an accompanying smartphone app.  USC Roski Eye Institute is the optometric care partner in the study having its ophthalmologists and optometrists at its USC clinics on the school's main campus and health sciences campus perform the eye exams and ensure accurate prescriptions for the study participants.

And there's an element that combines gaming and philanthropy. The app will synch with VSP Global's Eyes of Hope initiative where study participants will accrue points based on reaching daily step goals. Once a certain number of points are achieved, the user will trigger the donation of a comprehensive eye exam and pair of glasses to someone in need. Participants are able to choose a charity of their choice for the donation among seniors, school-age children, veterans or the homeless population.

"In this next phase of our continued collaboration with VSP we're thrilled to be partnering with them to maximize the wearable sensor in eyeglasses by engaging wearers in improved health fueled by philanthropic endeavors," stated Leslie Saxon, founder and executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing.  "We're using the eyes as a window into the soul and the heart – it's a testament to the power of digital tools to improve health and improve the world at the same time."

"Not only is Level a unique health-tracking technology that fuses function, fashion and digital health in a platform as common as eyewear, our collaboration with USC will also allow VSP to study Level in the context of increasing health and wellness outcomes while creating empathy and opportunity for someone in need," said Jay Sales, co-director of VSP Global's The Shop. "As a community-based not-for-profit, that interplay is core to who we are as a company."

"Offering our patients digital health tools and wearable technology in our eye clinics is the wave of the future," said Rohit Varma, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the USC Roski Eye Institute.

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Ricola enters immunity category

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ricola on Thursday announced the release of Ricola Herbal Immunity Lozenges, formulated with ginseng, vitamins C, B6 and B12, to help support the immune system and fight fatigue.

"The immunity category has exploded in recent years," stated William Higgins, regional president, North America at Ricola. "We are excited to expand our product portfolio into the category and bring consumers a proactive approach to wellness."

Born out of the insight that consumers have been seeking a product containing no artificial flavors, colors or genetically modified ingredients that supports the immune system and fights fatigue, Ricola pulled from its herbal innovation heritage to offer an immunity product that delivers a balance of key vitamins, plus ginseng, a known fatigue fighter.

"It is our highly concentrated, purified form of Panax Ginseng that works to fight the fatigue associated with today's busy lifestyle, a first in mainstream U.S. immunity products," explained Raymond Place, head of corporate product development and innovation at Ricola. "When combined with Chrüterchraft, the secret blend of 10 Swiss herbs found in almost all Ricola products, consumers will now have access to an immunity product that is not only effective, but tastes good too."

Ricola Herbal Immunity Lozenges in honey herb and citrus herb will be available Sept. 1 at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores nationwide.

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NuGo Nutrition acquires ProMax sports nutrition bars

BY Michael Johnsen

OAKMONT, Pa. – NuGo Nutrition, a fast-growing lifestyle brand in the natural foods category known for creating protein bars for several lifestyles, on Wednesday announced it has acquired the sports performance brand, Promax from Promax Nutrition Corporation.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Promax has been a mainstay in the sports nutrition category for more than 20 years. NuGo recognized the legacy potential of the Promax brand and will leverage its expertise in the nutrition bar category and extensive sales network to create a solid growth platform for the brand under NuGo's umbrella, the company stated.

"We recognized thatwith Promax's great taste and attractive retail pricing, combined with our dedication to the brand and nutrition bar category expertise, Promax has enormous potential for growth," commented NuGo CEO David Levine.
 

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