Highlight HEALTH – Highlight HEALTH http://www.highlighthealth.com Discover the Science of Health Sat, 14 Jan 2017 19:32:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 Minding Your Memory: Brain Awareness Week 2014 http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/minding-memory-brain-awareness-week-2014/ Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:40:01 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12258 This year for Brain Awareness Week, we're highlighting some practical tips for minding your memory.]]>

Every year in March, Brain Awareness Week (BAW) unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. We’ve been celebrating it since 2011 and this year, wanted to highlight some practical tips for minding your memory.

Brain Awareness Week 2014

BAW was founded and is coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and European Dana Alliance for the Brain. Based on what brain science tells us about memory, there are a number of simple strategies that everyone can use to improve the ability to learn and remember new things.

Everything begins as sensory input from our environment. We have a mechanism to filter out and discard irrelevant or background data, such as the feel of the carpet as we walk or the sound of the air conditioner. To establish a more durable memory, we need to prevent incoming information from being discarded. The use of strategies plays a critical role in structuring input to help it move into long-term memory in a meaningful and memorable format.

10 tips to mind your memory

  1. Pay attention: engage your brain and live in the moment. Actively attend to what you’re trying to learn. This can be hard, so don’t give up! Overriding the distraction reflex takes intentionality and practice.
  2. Stay focused: concentrate on what you’re doing. Reduce distractions and interruptions to help stay centered. If you’re working on your computer, close your email and/or social media clients. Turn off the radio or TV.
  3. Repeat it: as children, we learn by repetition. This also works as an adult. Repetition increases the strength of relevant connections in your brain and enhances a process called consolidation, whereby memories are moved from temporary storage in the hippocampus to more permanent storage in the cortex.
  4. Write it down: writing down important things is useful for two reasons: (1) it is another way to repeat the information, and (2) it provides a visual reminder.
  5. Make associations: relate new information to things you already know. This uses existing synaptic connections in the brain to learn something new.
  6. Stay organized: keep things you regularly use in the same place. The hard part — especially when we’re busy — is always returning items to their place.
  7. Plan and prioritize: the human brain isn’t meant to multitask. Planning our time and prioritizing activities is critical. No one can “do it all” — let yourself off the hook, reduce stress and regain control over your time and your life.

For more information, see Brain Awareness Week: Staying Sharp.

To see additional stories and materials from past BAW events, see Brain Awareness Week 2013, Brain Awareness Week 2012, and Brain Awareness Week 2011.

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Happy Holidays from Highlight HEALTH http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/happy-holidays-from-highlight-health-2013/ Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:39:52 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12169 Have yourself a healthy holiday season and a happy, healthy new year!]]>
Happy holidays 2013
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Brain Awareness Week 2013 at Highlight HEALTH http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/brain-awareness-week-2013-at-highlight-health/ Tue, 12 Mar 2013 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=10870 For Brain Awareness Week 2013, to excite and educate people about the brain and brain research we're crossing the digital divide and giving away a number of pamphlets about the brain to readers.]]>

This week is Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a worldwide week-long celebration of the brain. BAW was founded and is coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and European Dana Alliance for the Brain. Every year in March, BAW focuses on increasing public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research.

Baw2013


This is our third year partnering with the BAW campaign here at Highlight HEALTH. This week, we’ve already posted a video describing a radical new way to test for Parkinson’s disease over the phone and a story on new brain mapping research that suggests that the predisposition to hear voices may relate to abnormal functioning of the resting brain. You can read more BAW articles from Highlight HEALTH using the links below:

Brain Awareness Week 2011 Brain Awareness Week 2012

Every day this week we’re running stories and posting videos on brain research. To further excite and educate people about the brain and brain research, we’re crossing the digital divide and giving away a number of pamphlets about the brain to readers. Simply subscribe to weekly updates from Highlight HEALTH and then email us at baw@highlighthealth.com with your name and mailing address and we will send you the following items in the mail:

Q and A

Q&A: Answering Your Questions About Brain Research

This pamphlet provides answers to commonly asked questions about the brain and its disorders. Discover how research is advancing our understanding of the brain in health and disease.

Staying Sharp Booklet: Memory and Aging

Staying Sharp Booklet: Memory and Aging

Moments of forgetfulness happen to everyone, even the young. But as we get older, they may leave us wondering if we’re losing our mental edge.

Staying Sharp Booklet: Learning as We Age

Staying Sharp Booklet: Learning as We Age

According to the latest brain research, actively engaging our brains in learning throughout life can have a significant impact on how well our brains age. Find out what neuroscience has revealed about lifelong learning.

Staying Sharp Booklet: Late-Life Brain Disorders

Staying Sharp Booklet: Late-Life Brain Disorders

Is there anyone who doesn’t desire to live life to the fullest every day, no matter their age? Learn about a few of the most common and most debilitating late-life brain disorders: dementia, depression, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain.

Mindboggling Workbook

The Mindboggling Workbook

A fun-filled activity book about the brain for children in grades K-3 (ages 5-9). The Mindboggling Workbook provides an introduction to how the brain works, what the brain does, its importance and how to take care of it.

More Mindbogglers

More Mindbogglers!

More Mindbogglers! takes a closer look at learning and memory, the senses, drug addiction and how the brain and nervous system work in a fun format.

Brain Connections: Your Source Guide to Information on Brain Diseases and Disorders

Brain Connections: Your Source Guide to Information on Brain Diseases and Disorders

A source guide that lists more than 240 organizations in the United States likely to help those looking for information, referrals, and other guidance in connection with brain-related disorders. Listings provide mailing addresses, toll-free numbers, email and website addresses, and identify the primary services each organization provides.

Email us at the address above and join in this year’s Brain Awareness Week celebration.

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The Best of Highlight HEALTH 2012 – The Year in Review http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/the-best-of-highlight-health-2012-the-year-in-review/ Tue, 01 Jan 2013 01:37:01 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=10196 Highlight HEALTH Top 10 for 2012As 2012 draws to a close, we're taking a look back at the top stories readers were interested in.]]> Highlight HEALTH Top 10 for 2012

As the year draws to a close, it’s become a tradition for us to take a look back at the top stories readers were interested in (this month, Highlight HEALTH celebrated it’s sixth year promoting advances in biomedical research). As we have in previous years, we’ve compiled two top ten lists of the most-viewed stories for 2012, one as measured by the absolute number of page views and the other as measured by the average number of page views per day posted.

Highlight HEALTH Top 10 for 2012

To get a sense of underlying themes for the top ten lists, here’s a tag cloud of terms taken from articles that made the cut:

The Highlight HEALTH Network

Highlight HEALTH is part of the Highlight HEALTH Network, a group of three websites that focus on health and medicine for the general public.

  • Here at Highlight HEALTH, we report on biomedical research, provide background and analysis, and explain how the results affect you, the healthcare consumer. We also offer original analysis and editorials focused on healthcare and current health news.

  • At Highlight HEALTH 2.0, we focus on new ideas impacting health and medicine. We post on new apps and technologies in health and medicine.

  • Lastly, the Highlight HEALTH Web Directory is an online reference guide for reliable health and medical information.

There are a number of ways to connect with Highlight HEALTH, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, email or RSS feed.

Top stories for 2012

According the the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 80% of internet users, or 59% of U.S. adults, look online for health information. Just under one-third of cell phone owners, and more than one-half of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information [1]. To see what readers of Highlight HEALTH were interested in for 2012, we’ve calculated the top stories for the year using two measures, either by the highest absolute number of page views for 2012 or by the average number of page views per day (3 out of 10 overlap both lists). Each story indicates an article number (we published a total of 107 stories in 2012) and number of views.

Top 10 stories by highest absolute page view for the year

  1. Pluripotent Stem Cells and the Nobel Prize for Medicine
    (article #97; 18,953 page views)

    The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to two scientists for their work on reprogramming mature cells to become pluripotent.

  2. Washington State Pertussis Epidemic Highlights Importance of Vaccination
    (article #60; 15,260 page views)

    In early April, 2012, the Washington State Department of Health declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic, underscoring the importance of vaccination.

  3. NIH Director Discusses Accelerating Translation of Biomedical Research to the Clinic
    (article #64; 5,529 page views)

    At TEDMED 2012, Dr. Francis Collins discussed two potential methods for getting disease treatments to market faster.

  4. Cognitive Function and Obesity: Does Your BMI Link to Your IQ?
    (article #28; 6,966 page views)

    The so-called obesity epidemic may be causing decline in cognitive function through direct and indirect impacts on brain functioning.

  5. Study Reveals How Green Tea Improves Memory
    (article #96; 5,383 page views)

    New research from China suggests that green tea can help prevent neurodegeneration: the loss of structure and/or function of brain cells.

  6. Circumcision Linked to Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer
    (article #33; 5,281 page views)

    A new study published in the journal Cancer suggests that circumcision can hinder infection and inflammation that may lead to prostate cancer.

  7. Lactose Intolerance: A Diagnostic Fad
    (article #17; 4,174 page views)

    Just as clothing styles come in and out of fashion, diagnoses go through fads as well: one such fad diagnosis is lactose intolerance, which is sometimes blamed for everything from hyperactivity to joint pain.

  8. What the Healthcare Law Ruling Means to You
    (article #70; 4,045 page views)

    Politics aside, we review what the healthcare law ruling will and will not do to you.

  9. Walmart and Sam’s Club Offer 10 Vital Immunizations Nationwide
    (article #93; 3,839 page views)

    In September, Walmart and Sam’s Club announced the launch of expanded immunization services across the United States, signaling the company’s expansion into healthcare services.

  10. Just Because It Isn’t Sweet … Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Sugar
    (article #11; 3,743 page views)

    We give you the skinny on carbs, both simple and complex.

Top 10 stories by average number of page views per day

  1. Pluripotent Stem Cells and the Nobel Prize for Medicine
    (article #97; average: 234 page views/day)

    The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to two scientists for their work on reprogramming mature cells to become pluripotent.

  2. Inspiring 15-Year-Old Develops Cancer Sensor
    (article #100; average: 106 page views/day)

    Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka has invented a test that detects early stage pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer, and is cheaper and faster than the gold standard test used today.

  3. Happy Holidays from Highlight HEALTH
    (article #107; average: 74 page views/day)

    Holiday greetings from all of us here at Highlight HEALTH.

  4. Even Healthy People Carry Hundreds of Genetic Flaws
    (article #106; average: 66 page views/day)

    New research finds that, on average, a normal healthy person carries approximately 400 protein-damaging DNA mutations and two mutations directly linked with a high risk of disease.

  5. Washington State Pertussis Epidemic Highlights Importance of Vaccination
    (article #60; average: 67 page views/day)

    In early April, 2012, the Washington State Department of Health declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic, underscoring the importance of vaccination.

  6. Study Reveals How Green Tea Improves Memory
    (article #96; average: 62 page views/day)

    New research from China suggests that green tea can help prevent neurodegeneration: the loss of structure and/or function of brain cells.

  7. Healthy Neuroticism Linked with Lower Levels of an Inflammatory Biomarker
    (article #103; average: 57 page views/day)

    New research suggests that healthy neuroticism may protect your body against inflammation.

  8. Gene that Influences When You Wake Also Predicts Time of Death
    (article #104; average: 56 page views/day)

    A common gene variant that’s responsible for a person’s tendency to be an early riser or a night owl also helps determine the time of day a person is most likely to die.

  9. The Good News About Cancer: You Can Reduce Your Risk
    (article #105; average: 55 page views/day)

    An infographic from Rock Your Cause covers some important facts about cancer and offers six easy steps to reduce your risk.

  10. Unhappy at Work? Genes May Play a Key Role
    (article #102; average: 52 page views/day)

    According to a recent study, stressed-out workers who blame their employer for their anxiety should think again.

Thanks for reading and Best of Health in the coming year!

Curious to see previous Year in Reviews from Highlight HEALTH? Here’s the list:

References

  1. Pew Internet: Health. Pew Internet & American Life Project. 2012 Nov 13.
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Happy Holidays from Highlight HEALTH http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/happy-holidays-from-highlight-health-2012/ Sat, 22 Dec 2012 17:10:04 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=10187 Happy holidays from Highlight HEALTHHappy holidays from Highlight HEALTH!]]> Happy holidays from Highlight HEALTH
Happy holidays from Highlight HEALTH

Thanks to all of our readers for helping make 2012 a great year.

Happy holidays from all of us at Highlight HEALTH!

Walter Jessen, Diana Gitig, Kirstin Hendrickson and Faith Martin.

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Healthpoint Services: Top Innovative Company in Biomedicine http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/healthpoint-services-top-innovative-company-in-biomedicine/ Wed, 19 Dec 2012 03:12:25 +0000 http://www.highlighthealthtech.com/?p=1076 Healthpoint Services is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review's 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012.]]>

Healthpoint Services is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012 [1].

Healthpoint Services


What is a TR50 company? It is a business whose innovations force other businesses to change their strategic course. TR50 companies are nominated by Technology Review’s editors who look for companies that, over the last year, have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors.

Healthpoint Services was chosen to be a TR50 company because they are using telemedicine techniques to deliver healthcare to rural India. A key innovation of the company is its network of E Health Points (EHPs), facilities that provide families in rural villages with access to clean drinking water and healthcare services. Patients can use advanced tele-medical services that bring a doctor and modern, evidence-based healthcare to their community.

EHPs are democratizing healthcare in India, providing high quality healthcare and safe drinking water services to communities without any discrimination on basis of gender-caste-social or economic status. According to Healthpoint Services CEO Amit Jain, “Nobody was willing to go to rural areas” to offer healthcare [2]. The company currently reaches half-a-million people in India, and plans to expand to Mexico and the Philippines.

Interested in other Top Innovative Companies in Biomedicine? Check them all out with the tag Top Innovative Companies in Healthcare.

References

  1. The 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2012. Technology Review. Accessed 2012 Apr 10.
  2. America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2012: Healthpoint Services. Bloomberg Businessweek. 2012 Jun 21.
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PatientsLikeMe: Top Innovative Company in Biomedicine http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/patientslikeme-top-innovative-company-in-biomedicine/ Wed, 12 Sep 2012 03:16:27 +0000 http://www.highlighthealthtech.com/?p=1090 PatientsLikeMe is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review's 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012.]]>

PatientsLikeMe is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012 [1].

PatientsLikeMe


What is a TR50 company? It is a business whose innovations force other businesses to change their strategic course. TR50 companies are nominated by Technology Review’s editors who look for companies that, over the last year, have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors.

Founded in 2004, PatientsLikeMe is the leading online community and data-sharing social network for people with life-changing conditions. Patients embrace the open sharing of personal health data because they believe that information can change the course of their disease.

The company launched its first online community for patients with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2006, and subsequently added communities for other life-changing conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome, mood disorders, and epilepsy. Within three years, the number of registered users had grown to more than 45,000. In April 2011, PatientsLikeMe allowed any patient with any condition to join. In June 2011, the company reached 100,000 members.

The PatientsLikeMe website today covers over 1,200 health conditions, the largest of which is the ALS community with more than 4,500 patients. The company allows members to add real-world data on their symptoms, conditions, treatment history, side effects, hospitalizations and more on an ongoing basis, resulting a a detailed longitudinal record that allows patients, healthcare professionals, and industry organizations to gain insight and identify patterns.

PatientsLikeMe was chosen to be a TR50 company because their online social health network and shared data platform offer a new way to improve the understanding and treatment of disease. A key innovation of the company is a published, peer-reviewed study, based on data volunteered by site users, that countered the results of a clinical trial assessing the effects of lithium on ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease [2].

PatientsLikeMe recently announced that it entered into a collaboration with Merck to evaluate the impact of psoriasis on patients and to inform a novel approach to improving outcomes [3]. PatientsLikeMe will work directly with clinical researchers and epidemiologists at Merck to analyze and interpret psoriasis patient-reported data.

Interested in other Top Innovative Companies in Biomedicine? Check them all out with the tag Top Innovative Companies in Healthcare.

References

  1. The 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2012. Technology Review. Accessed 2012 Apr 10.
  2. Wicks et al. Accelerated clinical discovery using self-reported patient data collected online and a patient-matching algorithm. Nat Biotechnol. 2011 May;29(5):411-4. Epub 2011 Apr 24.
    View abstract
  3. PatientsLikeMe and Merck establish health information collaboration focused on psoriasis. PatientsLikeMe. 2012 Aug 13.
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Have a Question for a Physician? There’s an App for That http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/have-a-question-for-a-physician-theres-an-app-for-that/ Thu, 06 Sep 2012 04:31:09 +0000 http://www.highlighthealthtech.com/?p=1387 HealthTap's free web and mobile applications enable 24/7 access to personalized, relevant and trusted health information from thousands of leading doctors without leaving your home or office.]]>

When people have a medical question, they schedule an appointment to see their doctor. Palo Alto, California-based HealthTap aims to change that. The company’s free web and mobile applications enable 24/7 access to personalized, relevant and trusted health information from thousands of leading doctors without leaving your home or office.

HealthTap app

At the HealthTap website, users post questions and doctors post brief answers. The service is free and the doctors aren’t paid. Instead, they are allowed to use the resource to enhance their real-life practice with more efficient patient visits (saving everyone time and money), as well as build their reputation and attract new patients.

The HealthTap app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad users, enabling them to connect to 14,000 U.S.-licensed physicians across 115 speciality areas. Questions are usually answered in less than 24 hours for free. Fellow physicians can show they agree with answers by clicking an “Agree” button and users can show their appreciation by clicking a “Thank” button.

If a person wants to ask a personalized question to a particular doctor or send along their charts, there’s a small fee of $9.99. Clarifying questions are free and two follow-up questions at $5.99 each are allowed. The questions are guaranteed to be answered within 72 hours or the person gets their money back. All correspondence is private and considered confidential.

Although the app isn’t the only one available that attempts to answer patient questions, it’s the only one that contains a HIPAA-secure feature for sending medical records, images or video.

Although $10 or $20 may seem expensive for a question, it’s less expensive than a co-pay to visit your doctor and much less expensive than the cost of a doctor’s visit for an average person who doesn’t have insurance (around $200). Check out the HealthTap experience video below.

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Breathable, Implantable Microcomputers that Conform to the Human Body http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/breathable-implantable-microcomputers-that-conform-to-the-human-body/ Thu, 26 Jul 2012 04:10:40 +0000 http://www.highlighthealthtech.com/?p=1367 At TEDMED 2012, MC10's Chief Executive Officer David Icke describes the biostamp.]]>

Traditional tech devices have been rigid and boxy. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup MC10 aims to change that. The company is developing flexible and stretchable electronics that preserve the performance of silicon while enabling new form factors that can be bent or stretched to conform to soft and irregular surfaces and can be used for a variety of medical applications.

Biostamp


In April 2012, MC10’s Chief Executive Officer David Icke described the technology and a variety of potential applications at TEDMED, a three day annual conference where cutting-edge science and technology leaders “connect, understand and inspire” to advance the art of health and medicine with new ideas, the latest science and innovative technology.

During his talk, Icke asked:

What if electronics were soft and pliable like our skin or like a balloon? What if electronics conformed to us instead of us conforming to them?

This would allow innovation on form, which could change our behaviors and how we manage our health and practice medicine. Icke and colleagues at MC10 have created a sticky patch they call a “biostamp,” a smart sensing skin that can be placed anywhere on or under the skin to monitor, detect changes or simply measure vital signs.

What kind of applications does the technology enable? During his presentation, Icke offers several suggestions:

  • For the first responder: person-down triage patch that quickly determines vital signs
  • For the contact sports athlete (or children!): a wearable device that can monitor for concussion
  • For the diabetic: a tattoo-like sticker to detect hypoglycemia
  • For the elderly: a sensor for congestive heart failure
  • For the cardiologist: soft and expandable sensors and stimulators on a smart catheter
  • For the surgeon: a stretchy sheet of sensors that can measure what’s happening on tissue or organs

Check out Icke’s TEDMED talk in the video below.

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App Helps Users Turn Good Intentions Into Good Habits http://www.highlighthealth.com/highlight-health/app-helps-users-turn-good-intentions-into-good-habits/ Thu, 19 Jul 2012 04:10:12 +0000 http://www.highlighthealthtech.com/?p=1316 Healthy Habits is an app that empowers individuals to affect their own health & happiness.]]>

Healthy Habits, an app for the iPhone, helps users make good on good intentions. A winner of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, the Healthy Habits app was developed by 2Morrow Mobile, a company that specializes in behavioral change technology.

Healthy Habits app

Most people know what they would like to change about themselves and often even know how to do it. The problem is putting those intentions into action. That’s where the Healthy Habits app comes in. From the Healthy Habits entry into the Healthy Apps Challenge:

Healthy Habits focuses on providing people a tool to help them make the changes they want to make. Our users tell us that the act of recording their actions and tracking their progress keeps them motivated. We are not trying to tell people what to change — we are providing a tool to assist in that change and empowering individuals to affect their own health & happiness. Healthy Habits incorporates proven behavior change tools such as: identifying the reasons for desired change, logging/tracking behavior, providing reminders, making it convenient (the tool is always with you – on your phone), gamification (making it fun), involving support systems, visual representations of progress and more.

By making users accountable to themselves via their phone, the Healthy Habits app hopes to assist with positive behavior modification in areas such as weight loss, eating patterns, and social interaction. The app, though it hasn’t undergone any scientific testing (that has been reported to date), is consistent with principles of behavior modification as outlined by the National Institutes of Health:

[T]he initiation and maintenance of behavior change can be very difficult, and even those interventions that succeed in controlled clinical trials do not always scale well. It is not enough for behavioral and social scientists to do rigorous research and develop effective interventions; there must also be delivery channels and systems in place to disseminate these interventions to the public, policymakers, and other decision makers to ensure that they are implemented, adopted, and maintained.

2Morrow Mobile hopes that Healthy Habits will serve as one such delivery channel.

Source: U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge

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