Health Life

An app monitors cancer patients’ health status and rewards participation

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Close2U, an electronic device application, has been developed by researchers at the Complutense University (UCM) and the University of Zaragoza (UZA) to monitor cancer patients’ physical and mental health using gamification.

Users answer a series of daily questions about their mood and where they are experiencing pain. In return, the app rewards them in the form of advice or songs, resources intended to increase their motivation.

“The use of gamification enables more continuous monitoring of by obtaining frequent information about their mood. Among other things, this lets us know if they are depressed, stressed or in pain,” explained Iván García-Magariño, a researcher in the Department of Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence at the UCM.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the Spanish Cancer Association (Spanish initials: AECC), primarily at its branch in Teruel, where patients tested the app.

Researchers from both universities have reported development of the app and the results obtained in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics and Journal of Healthcare Engineering.

Exchange of resources among patients

For example, for the question “How did you sleep?”, users mark a point on a horizontal line between the two extremes “very badly” and “very well,” while for the question “Where in your body are you experiencing pain?”, the screen displays an image of a body on which patients mark areas affected by .

The information obtained from their answers is sent to a hospital or association physician.

In return, patients are rewarded with advice or songs which “are intended to amuse and entertain them, and which they can also share with other patients to provide mutual support,” observed García Magariño.

He also noted that the researchers were working on incorporating the app on other devices such as smart furniture or watches. “We

Health article

Brain imaging, telehealth studies promise better stroke prevention and recovery

Clinton B. Wright, M.D., M.S.

Stroke research is a priority for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Stroke, which often stops blood from flowing to the brain or causes bleeding in or around the brain, affects almost 800,000 people in the U.S. each year and is the fourth leading cause of death.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) leads stroke research for NIH. Through StrokeNet, a network of 25 research centers across the U.S., NINDS conducts clinical trials focused on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Clinton B. Wright, M.D., M.S., director of the Division of Clinical Research at NINDS, shared some of the latest research updates and what they mean for stroke treatment in the future.

How has stroke research changed?

It used to be that stroke victims could only come into the hospital within six hours of a stroke to get a brain clot removed. Any longer and it was believed that you would have a brain hemorrhage. Now, with advanced brain-scanning systems, someone can be treated within 16 hours of having a stroke. The NIH-supported DEFUSE 3 trial helped change the guidelines for treating strokes. We can identify at-risk brain tissue and save many more lives much sooner.

“Now, with advanced brain-scanning systems, someone can be treated within 16 hours of having a stroke.”

– Clinton B. Wright, M.D., M.S.

What other stroke research are you working on?

Currently, we are funding several clinical trials comparing different therapies and the effectiveness of acute treatment and recovery. In addition to DEFUSE 3, here are two important ones:

Telerehab: NIH funded a study on delivering patient rehabilitation care via a computer or mobile device in the person’s home. A lot of people don’t get rehabilitation services because they’re very expensive. We still need to do more trials with