A Game to Improve Blood Glucose Control

If you’re making an attempt to enhance your blood glucose management, enjoying a web based sport in all probability isn’t step one you’d suppose to take. But in accordance to a current research, veterans with diabetes who performed a web based sport with small monetary incentives noticed clear enhancements.

The research, printed in September 2017 within the journal Diabetes Care, concerned 458 folks — principally males — receiving care by means of the Veterans Administration (VA) well being system. Participants had to have a beginning HbA1c stage (a measure of long-term blood glucose management) of at the very least 7.5% and be taking at the very least one oral diabetes drug. Some additionally took insulin.

How the sport labored

Each participant within the research was randomly assigned to one in every of two teams.

In Group 1, contributors performed a web based or phone-based sport that requested 4 questions on diabetes administration every week. Answers had been revealed after every query, with an evidence. In Group 2 — often called the management group — contributors performed an identical sport, however with questions associated to civics and U.S. citizenship. Each group additionally acquired an informational booklet concerning the different group’s topic, in order that by the tip of the research, each teams had acquired the identical info. The solely distinction was the way it was acquired: by sport or by booklet.

To elevate the stakes of every sport, contributors had been assigned to a crew, and each crew and particular person scores (with aliases to defend privateness) had been proven on-line on an ongoing foundation. Each sport lasted for six months, after which members of the profitable crew — in addition to the highest 30% of people — acquired a $100 reward certificates.

According to B. Price Kerfoot, MD, the research’s lead creator, an identical game-based academic strategy has already been proven to be efficient amongst medical doctors, serving to them enhance each their medical strategies and affected person outcomes. So for this research, he says, the aim “was to determine whether it could be even more effective when implemented directly with patients.”


Veterans and diabetes: do you know?

• Nearly 1 in four veterans within the VA well being care system has diabetes.
• Many Veterans of all ages are in danger for diabetes due to the excessive fee of weight problems and people who are obese, estimated at over 70% of Veterans receiving VA care.
• About 1 in four folks with diabetes are unaware they’ve the situation.
(Source: Veterans Health Administration)


Effects on blood glucose

In each Group 1 and Group 2, contributors’ common HbA1c fell by an identical quantity over the six months they performed the sport: from 9.zero% to eight.6% in Group 1 (the diabetes sport), and from eight.9% to eight.6% in Group 2 (the civics sport).

But through the subsequent six months, outcomes between the 2 teams diverged. A 12 months after the start of every sport, Group 1 contributors’ common HbA1c had dropped even additional to eight.three%, whereas in Group 2, the quantity solely dropped to eight.5%. Playing the diabetes sport, it appears, had a longer-lasting helpful impact on blood glucose management.

The outcomes had been much more pronounced amongst contributors who began out with an HbA1c higher than 9.zero%. In this section of Group 1, HbA1c fell by a median of 1.49% a 12 months later, a drop that Kerfoot says is “comparable to starting a new oral diabetes medication.”

Beyond the research

As Kerfoot notes, the research’s contributors had traits that may have both enhanced or restricted the effectiveness of the game-based strategy to studying. “Veterans with diabetes tend to be male, older, and less comfortable with technology than other patient population,” he notes. But as a result of the research used a web based enrollment kind, it in all probability included veterans who had been extra snug with computer systems and cellular gadgets

The diabetes sport used within the research is at present obtainable to hospitals and well being methods by means of an organization referred to as Qstream, so over time, it could turn out to be clear whether or not this strategy is kind of efficient within the normal inhabitants than amongst veterans. But hospitals and well being methods are unlikely to use financial rewards in the identical means that the research did, which may additionally have an effect on outcomes.

But regardless of these potential limitations, Kerfoot says, the concept of utilizing on-line video games to educate and reinforce diabetes administration expertise stays promising. All that you just want to take part, he notes, are “a desire to improve your health, a competitive spirit, and a mobile device or computer.”



• The VA’s MOVE! program will help veterans shed pounds and enhance blood glucose management
(Source: Veterans Health Administration)


Want to study extra about methods for managing blood sugar? Read “Making Your Blood Glucose Monitor Work for You” and “Managing Your Blood Glucose Ups and Downs.”