Can an online game really improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes?
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When it comes to serious health problems, you might think a game would be unlikely to help. But a recent study of people with diabetes could change your mind.
Researchers publishing in the September 2017 issue of Diabetes Care describe a study in which people with diabetes joined a competitive online game aimed at educating participants about ways to improve blood sugar control. The results were encouraging.
How a game led to improved blood sugars
In this new research, 456 patients with poorly controlled diabetes were randomly assigned to one of two groups:
Group 1 participated in an online or phone-based educational game that asked two questions about managing diabetes each week for six months. Later, answers and explanations were provided. This group also received a booklet about civics, including questions about citizenship in the US.*
Group 2 received online or phone-based questions about civics each week for six months along with a booklet about diabetes self-management.*
(*The researchers wanted to have a control group that was just like the diabetes management game group, except instead of diabetes information they provided information on civics. Both groups got a civics lesson and diabetes information; the only difference was how that information was delivered. That way investigators could say with more confidence it was the game that improved blood sugars.)
Each participant was assigned to a team. Points were awarded for correct answers, and scores were posted so other participants could compare team and individual performance (wi Continue reading