HEALTH

Personalized monitoring

BY DSN STAFF

FORT MYERS, Fla. —The SilverCare personal monitor from SilverPlus was named by retailers attending the ECRM Home Health Care conference in March as the “hot new product” at the show.

The SilverCare monitor is a multifunctional, daily-living assistant, the company stated, with functions including a dedicated 911 button, a hands-free speaker and medication reminder in the body of a digital wristwatch. By 2011, SilverPlus hopes to launch a model that will include a motion sensor, which could trigger an alert due to a fall, for example. And by 2012, the SilverPlus vision is to fold its product line into a comprehensive and multifunctional telehealthcare tool, where remote healthcare professionals can help with disease and wellness management.

Each unit consists of a base console and wristwatch, and retails for a suggested $449, with no monthly service contract fee associated with the use of the product, the company added.

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Pharmavite announces partnership with AAFP

BY Michael Johnsen

LEAWOOD, Kan. Pharmavite has aligned with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Consumer Alliance Program, the company announced Friday. As part of the partnership, Pharmavite will underwrite the development of nonbranded, physician-reviewed consumer education content on vitamins, supplements, general health and heart health, which will be featured on AAFP’s consumer health site FamilyDoctor.org.

Serving as an online destination for patients seeking information on health questions, issues and concerns, FamilyDoctor.org recently was named one of “Five Great Health Sites” on a Newsweek.com blog, and one of the “‘Top Ten’ Most Useful Web Sites” by the Medical Library Association. FamilyDoctor.org welcomes, on average, 3.5 million unique visitors each month.

“The Consumer Alliance Program helps fulfill the AAFP’s objective of improving the health of the public, in that it allows new opportunities for excellent patient education through FamilyDoctor.org,” stated AAFP EVP and CEO Douglas Henley.

While FamilyDoctor.org and the AAFP do not endorse any specific brand, product or service, the Consumer Alliance Program is an opportunity for Familydoctor.org and AAFP to collaborate with consumer products companies that share the common goal of informing consumers, as well as medical professionals, about new advances in product science, nutrition and best practices for good health and a balanced lifestyle.

“Generally the best way to ensure you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is through a balanced and varied diet, but that is not always possible,” Henley said.

Americans increasingly are using vitamins and dietary supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Nielsen’s Scantrack point-of-sale data indicates that use of vitamins, minerals and supplements by U.S. consumers increased 31% from 2005 to 2009.

With increased use of these products comes an increased need for patient education to ensure their proper usage. As part of their counseling, physicians can now refer their patients to the educational materials on FamilyDoctor.org about the appropriate use of vitamins and supplements.

“We know that many of our patients already use vitamins and supplements,” Henley said. “As family physicians, it is important that we counsel our patients on how to use these products properly, what vitamins and minerals they might not be getting enough of in their diet, and recommend appropriate dosages to resolve those deficiencies if they exist. It is also important to remind them that taking supplements does not replace the need to eat a healthy diet.”

The AAFP maintains complete editorial control over the content developed for FamilyDoctor.org to ensure creation of balanced, evidence-based content that can help consumers make informed decisions. The content is reviewed extensively by family physician editors, members of the AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science and credentialed expert consultants.

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New study addresses link between gum disease treatment, diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

OTTAWA A new study to be published in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library found that treating periodontal (gum) disease in diabetics may lower their insulin levels.

A group of researchers from University of Edinburgh and supported by colleagues at the Peninsula Dental School, the University of Ottawa and UCL Eastman Dental Institute suggested that Type 2 diabetics may benefit from such treatments, after analyzing 690 papers of randomized controlled trials of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who had also been diagnosed with periodontal disease and included seven studies in the review that fulfilled prespecified criteria.

Most healthcare professionals, the team said, do not address the correlation between periodontal disease and insulin levels. It is believed that when bacteria infect the mouth and cause inflammation, the resulting chemical changes reduce the effectiveness of insulin produced in the body, thus making it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar

Terry Simpson, lead author at the Edinburgh Dental Institute, said: “It would be wise to advise patients of the relationship between treating periodontal disease and the possibility of lowering their blood sugar levels. Additionally, an oral health assessment should be recommended as part of their routine diabetes management.”

In December, a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry reported that 90% of patients with periodontal disease were at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

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