SciBites:  Week of April 26th

SciBites: Week of April 26th

Concise consent forms are effective

Informed consent is a central tenet of ethical clinical research. However, over time, the documents used to obtain informed consent from patients have grown longer, more complex and harder to read. A new study finds that shortening consent documents makes no significant difference to how well potential research participants understand a clinical study or how willing they are to volunteer. The moral of this research: Shorter consent forms are still effective; it’s the delivery that matters more.

Diabetes app forecasts blood sugar levels

Medications are often prescribed to help patients with Type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, but exercise and diet also play an important role. To help improve Type 2 diabetes management, researchers have developed a personalized algorithm that predicts the impact of particular foods on an individual’s blood sugar levels.

The researchers employed a technique often used for weather forecasting, called data assimilation, to continually monitor a person’s food intake and blood glucose via an app. The app allows the user to upload fingerstick blood measurements and photo of a particular meal, along with a rough estimate of its nutritional content, and returns a prediction of how the meal will affect the users blood sugar.

Physical activity helps to counteract weight gain from obesity-causing gene variant

It is well-understood that physical activity can help counteract weight gain. Now, a new meta-analysis sheds more light on how exercise affects a particular form of the FTO gene that carries the greatest risk of obesity. Using data from more than 200,000 people, the analysis showed that exercise can reduce the weight-gaining effects of the FTO gene variant by about 30 percent. The researchers also identified 11 novel genetic variants linked to obesity, suggesting that physical activity and other environmental factors should be considered when looking for obesity-linked genes.


Image Credit:  Running by Bill Brooks via Flickr


Jen is the Editorial Media Manager at PLOS. Before her time at PLOS, she's worked in broadcast news, radio and online media.

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