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PhotoCalorie Featured at Microsoft Connected Health Conference

April 28th, 2011

We are proud to annouce that our co-founder, Mark Boguski, is presenting PhotoCalorie today at Microsoft’s 2011 Connected Health Conference in Chicago. As described on their site, this annual conference brings together stakeholders from across the healthcare ecosystem for learning, networking, and discussion on the most important issues facing healthcare organizations today, including the role of technology in transforming healthcare delivery and personal health management. For a list of all the speakers, click here.

PhotoCalorie is being featured in the On the Go mobile health section, where we will be illustrating how PhotoCalorie can connect with Microsoft Health Vault to download a patient’s medical records and alert them of any dangerous diet-drug interactions.

For example, blood pressure medications such as Procardia, Adalat (Nifedipine) and Plendil (felodipine), are dangerous when combined with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, resulting in higher levels of the blood pressure medications. Some of the negative symptoms may include facial flushing, nausea, dizziness, confusion, palpitations or irregular heartbeat. If people taking these drugs are also using PhotoCalorie, potentially dangerous side effects may be avoided.

Conference

Founder of Monster.com Jeff Taylor on Social Networking

November 12th, 2010

Founder of Monster.com Jeff Taylor was invited to this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo to give a talk called: “Social Networking: Taking Communications to the Next Level.” An incredibly dynamic, energetic and hilarious presentation about the current state of social media and how it is transforming the way we live and do business.

Below are some notes and pictures I took during the presentation:

The definition of an Entrepreneur: “When you have an idea, and everyone around you thinks you are crazy, and you still act on it, you are an entrepreneur.”

“If you are nervous, you are in danger of learning something.”

Jeff began speaking about the history of Monster.com, and how is began. When he started, there were only 200 other websites in the entire world! Between 1996-2000, 50 million websites were created.

In December 1993, Monster.com released their first superbowl commercial, which turned out to be the 4th worst rated commercial that year. Why was that?!

- After some thinking and asking for feedback, they realized it confused every guy in the country. It is tough for a guy to be ironic, when they are drinking beer and eating pizza.

- They lived through this criticism, and what evolved from it was the courage to start his new company, eons.com, a social networking site for babyboomers.

-He is also a DJ for XM radio, DJ Jeffr Tell

-To celebrate 1 year at his new company eons.com, he wanted to do something exciting. So he decided everyone at the company is going to jump into the ocean together holding hands!

-People asked questions like “Well, what am I going to wear?”; “Do we jump on 3, or do we say 3 and then jump?!”

-Jeff said the meeting the following day was “incredible.”

Facebook

-376,000 people join each day

-If facebook were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world

Then he asked everyone to take their shoes off


-Think of an idea with very few rules, like take your shoe off an hold it in the air. Why would people do this?

-Some answers from the crowd: “It’s fun”; “Everyone else was doing it”; “My shoe was double knotted. I couldn’t get it off.”

-This activity was a metaphor for creating new ideas and taking risks. Some people may do it right away, and others may follow in their footsteps “because everyone else was doing it”

-Social media now being adopting by hospitals – some hospitals tweet their waiting room times

-Jeff left us with one final story. He always keeps a notebook next to his bed to try to write down and remember his dreams. One night, we awoke around 3am and jotted something down on his pad. Later that morning, he saw what he had written earlier, and thought it was a great idea; a “monster” idea. So he took it to the local coffee shop, and drafted a plan. Five hours later, he had the blue-print for what would become monster.com.

Conference

The Great Fat Debate – Is there validity in the Dietary Guidelines

November 8th, 2010

Today was the 3rd day of the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Today’s showcase was a debate over the age old dietary guidelines. Specifically adressed was the idea that fat makes you fat and causes heart disease. The opinions varied from eliminating fat content from food packages, encouraging an even stricter limitation on saturated fats, or to push an increase in polyunsaturated fats and nothing else.

Each speaker is listed in order they spoke, as well as their main points:

Dr. Walter Willet -Chair, Department of Nutrition, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition. Has conducted some of the largest studies ever on dietary fat, heart disease, and breast cancer.

-The idea that fats are bad first started with the Famous Ancel Keys, ecologic study which found a correlation between saturated fat and heart disease in 7 countries. However these countries differed in many other ways, so any relation between heart disease and saturated fat cannot be determined from this study.

-There was also a large association with wealth and heart disease.

-These ideas inspired the food pyramid to place fats at the very top, advising the population to “eat sparingly,” and promoting carbohydrate intake by placing them at the base of the food pyramid

-In all his studies, both clinical trials and prospective epidemiologic studies, he found “no relation what so ever” with total fat in the diet and breast cancer or heart disease

-He believes fat content should be removed from food packaging, since it confuses the consumer and has been consistently proven to be neutral.

You can read more about Willet’s research and ideas here.

Dr. Lewis KullerDistinguished University Professor of Public Health, Pittsburgh University

-Dr. Kuller believes the main problem with our obesity epidemic is changing eating behavior

-He cited much seminal research from the past, including the Ancel Keys ecologic data and animal models for evidence of the link between high LDL and

-Believes if Americans ate a diet consisting of 7% of calories from saturated fat, we would reduce the risk of heart disease, via its potential effect on LDL cholesterol

Dr. Dariush MozaffarianAssistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate Physician Brigham and Women’s Hospital

-Started by stating that all the evidence Dr. Kuller presented were ecologic studies, animal models, and biomarker relationships

-It is very dangerous to say LDL causes heart disease. You cannot determine causation, since it is just a correlation

-There is “no evidence” that saturated fat increases heart disease. He cited many recent meta-analyses of prospective studies and clinical trials, showing the relationship is usually null.

-The women’s health initiative, one of the largest clinical trials to test this idea, found no difference between the low fat group and the control group, even though the experimental group also had counseling.

-50% of our diets are refined carbohydrates and starches

-The average carb consumed in America is worse than saturated fat

-He also believes most nutrition on food packages should be removed

-All that should be recommended is an increase in polyunsaturated fats, since they consistently show a benefit

Dr. Alice Lichtenstein - Senior Scientist and Director, Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab, Tufts University

-Cited studies in the past which found a replacement of saturated fats with unsaturated fats decreased incidence of heart disease.

-Agrees that total fat is not detrimental

-Believes decreasing saturated fats is important for heart health

It seems that the consensus in 3 of the 4 speakers seemed to be that total fat has no effect on heart disease. Everyone seemed to agree that processed carbohydrates are bad. Very interesting research findings and ideas, considering the general acceptance of the low-fat dogma for the past 30 years. It remains to be seen if this research will have any effect on public policy and dietary recommendations.

Conference, Nutrition and Weight Loss

Today Show Joy Bauer’s Lecture at the Food and Nutrition Conference

November 7th, 2010


The annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), sponsored by the American Dietetics association is in Boston this weekend. It is quite the who’s who in the nutrition world. Today, Joy Bauer, the Today show dietitian spoke about her “Joy Fit Club.” Every other Monday, she inducts someone into the club who lost over 100 pounds strictly with food and exercise.

Here are the 10 strategies that Joy Bauer has found consistently worked for

the Joy Fit Club Members:

1. Get Your Head in the Game

Everyone knows we should eat less and move more. With each of her clients, Joy makes them come up with a significant and enduring source of motivation. She also insists everyone does positive self talk each morning about their progress.

2. Track Progress

We at PhotoCalorie are excited to hear this! Those who have lost 100+ pounds weigh themselves regularly.

Cartoon From Joy's Talk

They also graph their progress, measure inches lost, log exercise, and keep a food journal. She said food journals are important for 4 reasons: 1. makes you accountable, 2. teaches you about calories, 3. the people who are successful with weight loss are really knowledgable about calories, 4. when you splurge, the act of writing it down seems to make it less daunting.

3. Exercise Daily

Walking counts. It is free and easy. Joy profiled one of her clients, Jon, a 430 pound guy. Started walking from his house to his mailbox. He slowly increased the distance he walked each day. Now he walks 3 miles each day, and has lost 230 pounds!

4. Eliminate Extras

Joy gave an example of a client who needed to lose 40 lbs. Did everything she was supposed to, but after 2 weeks, only lost 0.25 pounds. Frustrated, she returned to Joy and ask what she should do next. Joy recommended she carry around a ziplock bag, and each time you are about to eat something extra, put it in the bag instead.

The next week, she brought the bag to Joy. It was filled with all kinds of things: french fries, Hershey’s kisses, and granola bars. It added up to 1000s of calories, and helped her lose that extra weight.

5. Support Network is Key

People who try to lose weight alone  usually are not as successful. Parents, wives, friends, and kids should all be involved if possible.

6. Lose liquid calories

The U.S. ranks #1 in sugary beverage consumption. If you only change one thing in your diet, this should be it.

7. Become comfortable in the kitchen

Learn 5 simple recipes that you can make in 10 minutes or less

8. Avoid trigger foods

Once you start you just can’t stop. Some people are very sensitive to this. If this is you, don’t tempt yourself with a taste.

9. Forgive slip ups

No one has gained weight from an extra cookie, or slice of chocolate cake. In Joy’s experience the majority of success stories had slip ups and just shook them off. Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself occasionally.

10. Set short & long term goals

For many people trying to lose weight, setting only a long term goal can be very overwhelming, making people feel hopeless. People should also set short term goals, such as: lose 2 pounds this week, or walk 30 minutes each day this month.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joy after her talk. Just as nice and charismatic as she is on the Today show.

A summary of other talks, such as Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com to come!

Conference, Exercise, Nutrition and Weight Loss

Connected Health Conference 2010

October 22nd, 2010

I had the pleasure to attend the Connected Health Conference this past friday.  The title of the conference was The Way Forward: Reform’s New Focus on Health and Wellness, Independent Aging, Chronic Condition Self-Care and the Tools That Support Them and it was one of the best conferences I’ve attended in a while.  I came away with a number of new ideas to promote behavior change for PhotoCalorie – some of which we’ll roll out shortly, so stay tuned!

Here are some highlights from my notes:

BJ Fogg:

  • Words to live by “put hot triggers in front of motivated people.”  Hot triggers are anything that allows a user to take action – “click now!” vs. billboard that says “drink milk” that you see while you are driving.
  • Start small and then build off your success.  You learn how things work.
  • Formula for behavior change: Behavior = motivation * ability * trigger.  Start with triggers, then ability, and finally motivation.  Motivation is the hardest to address.

Sheena Iyengar and her book The Art of Choosing.

  • People can’t decide when they are presented with more than 7 choices (+/- 2).  They end up doing nothing.
  • Solution is to decrease the number of choices and make the choices clear and meaningful.  A successful choice results in higher user satisfaction and trust.

Kevin Volpp at U. Penn.

  • Economic incentives can be effective to induce behavioral changes but you need to be careful.  In weight loss studies, when the incentive was discontinued people gained the weight back.
  • Lots of discussion about carrot vs. stick approach.  The “stick” approach has not been studied as much mainly because it is riskier for employers since the employees are likely to complain (read: lawsuits).
  • Anticipated regret is another type of motivator.  For example, “You didn’t reach your weight loss goal for this week but if you had you would have won XXX prize.”  This creates a sense of loss and people are more likely to participate next time.

David Rose from Vitality created Glow Caps to improve medication adherence – it’s pretty clever.  Here are his slides.

ANT+ appears to be really nice protocol to connect to all kinds of wireless sensors.  Imagine having your phone communicate with your scale or a sensors on your bike communicate with your computer that track calories burned, power, and distance traveled shown on a map.  ANT’s parent company is Garmin.

Random Facts

  • 30% of people have apps but only 23% use them.
  • 1 out 10 adults didn’t know if they had an app.
  • 1 out 10 users have some type of health app (broadly defined).
  • 50+ age group is the fastest growing social network.  Apps need to be designed for this age group.
  • Obesity costs $73B in lost productivity .
  • Japan has penalties for poor health such as large waist sizes.

Behavior Change, Conference, Dietary Research, Ideas