A new study suggests that the health of patients who suffer from heart disease may be boosted by using modern technology, such as cell phone text messages.
In a new study, the researchers asked 352 patients to take part in a program in which they received four text messages each week, that encouraged them to lead a healthier lifestyle. Quit smoking, exercise more, eat less salt – were only a few of the many messages that the patients received over a six-months period. There was another group of patients who did not receive text messages regarding their health.
At the end of the study, the results showed that, on average, the people from the group that received text messages had lower blood pressure, lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, also known as ‘the bad cholesterol’, and low levels of body mass index (BMI), as opposed to the people from the control group that did not receive any text messages. Many of the participants who received texts, reported that they had higher levels of physical activity, and that they quit smoking.
TEXT ME or Tobacco, Diet and Exercise Messages, is the name of the trial that attempts to help people fight heart diseases by using modern technology that is accessible to almost anyone nowadays.
Dr. Zupin Eapen, an assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University in North Carolina, said that although there are many other similar apps on the market, only a few of them have been tested in order to see whether they actually work well.
“Well-conducted randomized clinical trials like TEXT ME demonstrate that mobile health interventions, even simple ones, can influence patient behaviour and improve risk profiles in the short term,” Eapen stated.
The TEXT ME trial showed promising results, but the problem is that the trial was only conducted on a very small scale in only one location in Australia. Researchers are not sure whether the same results would also apply to people who life in a different area. Many possible participants have also been excluded due to language barriers or due to the fact that they do not own a cellphone. Eapen says that further research on a bigger scale is needed.
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