Health Life

Online patient portal access aids diabetes management

(HealthDay)—Providing patients with online (computer and mobile) portal access is associated with significantly improved diabetes medication adherence and glycemic control, according to a study recently published in JAMA Network Open.

Ilana Graetz, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated the association between adding patient portal access and diabetes medication adherence and glycemic levels among adults with diabetes. Patient portal access status was classified monthly (April 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2017) as never used, used from a computer only, used from a mobile device only, or used from both computer and mobile device for 111,463 .

The researchers found that the number of patients using the portal from both a computer and mobile device increased over time from 34.42 percent in April 2015 to 61.71 percent in December 2017. Adding computer-only portal access for patients with no prior portal access was associated with an increase in medication adherence (measured by percentage of days covered [PDC]) of 1.16 percentage points and a change of −0.06 percentage points in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level. Adding both mobile and computer portal access was associated with greater change (1.67 percentage point increase in PDC and −0.13 percentage points in HbA1c level). Changes were greatest for adding both computer and mobile access for patients with higher baseline HbA1c level (>8.0 percent) and no previous portal access (increase in PDC of 5.09 percentage points and a change of −0.19 percentage points in HbA1c level).

“This is an example of how the , by offering patients access to their own information and the ability to manage their online, can improve their health,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Offering this in a mobile-friendly way can give even more patients the ability to engage with their health care.”


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Reticulocyte Count: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What is a reticulocyte count?

Reticulocytes are red blood cells that are still developing. They are also known as immature red blood cells. Reticulocytes are made in the bone marrow and sent into the bloodstream. About two days after they form, they develop into mature red blood cells. These red blood cells move oxygen from your lungs to every cell in your body.

A reticulocyte count (retic count) measures the number of reticulocytes in the blood. If the count is too high or too low, it can mean a serious health problem, including anemia and disorders of the bone marrow, liver, and kidneys.

Other names: retic count, reticulocyte percent, reticulocyte index, reticulocyte production index, RPI

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Health Life

Using machine learning to detect lung cancer DNA in blood

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A large team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions across the U.S. has found that it might be possible to use machine learning to detect early-stage lung cancer in human patients. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their work, which involved testing machine learning systems and their ability to find circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood samples.

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest of the cancers, and like many others, the earlier it is found, the better chance of survival a patient has. Unfortunately, the only way to detect it currently is via CT scans, which are not only costly, but have high false positive rates. For that reason, have been looking into the possibility of developing a that can detect in its early stages. Such blood tests would involve scanning samples of blood for bits of ctDNA—a daunting prospect for human lab technicians. For that reason, the researchers with this new effort looked to machine learning—prior studies have shown it to be useful in identifying early stage breast and other cancers.

In their work, the researchers trained a model on data typically associated with a type of lung cancer known as non-small-cell lung cancer. Once trained, the model was programmed to provide an estimate of lung cancer in a given patient.

During testing, the system found 63 percent of tumors for stage 1 lung cancer patients—not as good as CT scans, but possibly good enough to serve as an initial screen for people who are considered to be at high risk of developing lung cancer. The researchers note that currently, many such patients are not being screened at all. If a patient received a positive result, they would then be

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Iron Tests: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What do the results mean?

If one or more iron test results show your iron levels are too low, it may mean you have:

  • Iron deficiency anemia, a common type of anemia. Anemia is a disorder in which your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells.
  • Another type of anemia
  • Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to make fewer than normal healthy red blood cells

If one or more iron test results show your iron levels are too high, it may mean you have:

Most conditions that cause too little or too much iron can be successfully treated with iron supplements, diet, medicines, and/or other therapies.

If your iron test results are not normal, it does not necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Some medicines, including birth control pills and estrogen treatments, can affect iron levels. Iron levels may also be lower for women during their menstrual cycles.

If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

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