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World Diabetes Day marked by call for international action

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Today marks the inaugural United Nations World Diabetes Day, organized by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. As part of the new global movement towards diabetes care and prevention, the Global Partnership for Effective Diabetes Management, a taskforce of international diabetes experts committed to treating Type 2 diabetes, has issued a new publication titled: U.N. Resolution on Diabetes—“Time to put fine words into action”. In the publication, the partnership urges national governments, the general population and the global diabetes community to take action and share the responsibility in the global fight against diabetes.

The major concern for the United Nations as well as the global partnership is the staggering amount of people diagnosed with diabetes around the world and the number that expects predict it will rise to by 2025.

Worldwide, diabetes currently affects 246 million people. By 2025, it is expected to affect almost 400 million and the WHO estimates increases in diabetes rates will occur in developing countries because of population growth, ageing, unhealthy diets, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Further, WHO estimates that in 2025, most people with diabetes in developed countries will be aged 65 years or older, while in developing countries most people aged 35 to 64 will be affected in their most productive years. The IDF predicts that in this same time frame, the largest prevalence of diabetes will be in developing countries.

The global partnership has provided some actions to be taken in order to increase diabetes awareness and care around the globe: diabetes should be prioritized as a public health initiative. Collaborative efforts between global and regional diabetes associations and governments enable improved, earlier and more intensive diabetes care with improved outcomes. Non-governmental organizations can be an important third pillar supporting the foundation for a change in diabetes care.

The new publication appears in the December issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice and is currently available online at the journal’s Web site at www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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Pharmaca opens 18th store in California

BY Doug Desjardins

LOS GATOS, Calif. Independent pharmacy chain Pharmaca opened its 18th store on Nov. 10 in the city of Los Gatos, Calif. “We’re excited to extend our refreshingly customer-focused approach to health care to the Los Gatos community,” said Pharmaca co-founder Barry Perzow.

The Boulder, Colorado-based chain, which specializes in blending traditional pharmacy with herbal and alternative medicines, now has seven stores in the Bay Area.

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Retailers looking to biometric identity systems to increase efficiency at the register

BY Drew Buono

FORT WAYNE, Ind. Retailers are looking for ways to speed up the movement of lines at their stores and to increase safety involving customer’s financial records. As a result, the companies are looking at biometric identity authentication systems as a way to increase customer satisfaction, according to journalgazette.net.

A couple of these systems rely on fingerprint identification wherein the consumer allows a scanned image to be taken of his index finger, which is then converted into a mathematical formula. Whenever the person’s fingerprint is scanned at a store, a match can be made between the latest scan and the mathematically coded “image” on file. The consumer then can specify the financial account to which the purchase should be charged.

These systems allow the consumer to create and access a virtual wallet containing electronic versions of credit cards, a driver’s license, checks and other documents that cannot be stolen. Moreover, a person’s age can be verified to ensure that only those customers meeting age requirements have legal access to alcohol and tobacco.

It has been estimated that 64 seconds are needed to complete the average retail transaction using a bank check and 48 seconds using a credit card. A fingerprint scanning system allows the same transaction to be completed in only 14 seconds.

Fingerprint scans are only one type of biometric system in commercial use. Some retailers and ATM systems have introduced devices that scan the consumer’s iris to make a positive identification by matching it with a previously stored image. Other systems use voice recognition software to authenticate identity.

It’s estimated that 3.5 million consumers already use biometric systems from the company Pay By Touch at more than 3,000 retail outlets, including Jewel-Osco and Albertson’s, according to journalgazette.

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