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Mobile Phones can help Underdeveloped Nations with Diabetes

Worried about your diabetes? Then make a call.

A new study from the Veterans Affairs Ann Harbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan showed that “Telehealth“—the practice of using telecommunications to deliver health services—proved to be effective in helping impoverished patients manage their diabetes.

Researchers followed the results of diabetes patients in a rural area in Honduras, who communicated with doctors via the phone on a weekly basis. The patients constantly asked the doctors for advice on how to best manage their diabetes. During the sixth week, researchers found that there was a significant increase in the improvement of the patient’s blood sugar control, or hemoglobin A1C.

“We wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to deliver a high-tech program from U-M to very vulnerable patients with diabetes in Honduras who only have local cell phone service,” said John Piette, senior research scientist and professor at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Diabetes remains to be a big problem for people in developing countries, due to their dependence on fast food. By 2030, it is estimated that the number of people with diabetes will balloon from 285 million to 439 million.

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