Virtual Health

Late last year, gamers snagged health headlines. In a span of three weeks, players mapped the structure of a protein enzyme that plays a key role in how the AIDS virus reproduces. In comparison, researchers have been working on this project for more than a decade. How did the gamers do it? By playing Fold.it, an online game produced by the University of Washington that presents complex puzzles that attempt to unlock the protein structure of diseases and other substances. Because proteins are a part of so many diseases, knowing their structure can help develop drugs that target them better.

According to the game’s website, “Players can design brandnew proteins that could help prevent or treat important diseases.” It works. Four scientific peer-reviewed papers list Fold.it gamers as authors, and this may be just the beginning. A number of puzzles are left to be solved. Just think, your gaming abilities could create the next big health headline.
Post Your Progress
If you’re having a hard time sticking to your health goals, consider linking up with like-minded members of Facebook, Twitter or Flickr or programs such as Weight Watchers or SparkPeople. According to two studies published last year in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, people with health concerns who used online programs were more likely to be successful if those programs gave the users confidence in their ability to make healthy changes. Both studies concluded that improving social support, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and self-regulation is what led to healthier habits.


Apps a Plenty
Let’s face it. Your smartphone is a computer. It’s just
smaller and cooler. And application developers the world over have found ways for it to help you be healthier. Here are a few of our favorite apps:

Calorie Count: Food journaling can help you keep the pounds away, but logging your meals can be a chore. With this app, no typing is required. Just talk into your phone, and the voice recognition software logs your meals and physical activity. Using a simple calories-in, calories-out measure, a graphic balance scale keeps you in check. Available at caloriecount.about.com.

NAP26: Twenty-six minutes is the perfect amount of time to nap, according to NASA. In fact, it could increase your alertness by 54 percent! This nap app will guide you through a perfect power snooze based on this principle. NAP26 lulls you to sleep using sound vibrations that match natural sleep patterns, and then wakes you after 26 minutes. Available at nap26.com.

Instant Heart Rate: As your heart beats, it brings oxygen-rich blood to the fingertips, which causes an almost imperceptible change in color. The Instant Heart Rate app monitors these color changes to determine your overall heart rate by having you hold your index finger lightly over the camera on your smartphone for 10 seconds. Available at instantheartrate.com.

Virtual Health at GMC
MedGift
GMC offers MedGift to patients. MedGift is a social network that connects patients with family and friends to share updates on their health and care. But unlike other social networks, MedGift offers much more: the MedGift Gift Registry, the first patient gift registry.

The MedGift Gift Registry provides an online listing of the support – both tangible and intangible – you need to assist you during your treatment, recovery and daily life. From prayers to a home-cooked meal or even help with personal medical expenses, the MedGift Gift Registry lets friends and family know how they can help. The MedGift Gift Registry offers three sections: Needs, Wants and Wishes.

GMC HealthConnect
GMC HealthConnect is an online tool that allows you and your doctor to communicate about non-urgent healthcare matters anytime, anywhere. GMC HealthConnect makes managing your health easy and convenient! One of the most convenient features of GMC HealthConnect is the online Personal Health Record (PHR). This service allows you to store, view and update all your health information in one secure place. You decide who has access to your medical history, ensuring your privacy.

Connect with GMC
GMC is committed to transforming healthcare on social media. Stay informed by liking us on facebook or follow us on twitter.

 

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