Older children with Type 1 diabetes often want to manage the illness themselves, but they can run into problems if they take multiple daily insulin injections but don’t check their glucose and take insulin before each meal and before bed. Would it help, a Dallas physician wondered, if she gave patients a pet they had to feed twice a day, and they developed a habit of checking their glucose at the same time?
Olga T. Gupta, an assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, recruited 29 patients, ages 10 to 17, with Type 1 diabetes. Sixteen got a fishbowl, a $5 gift card to buy a betta, or Siamese fighting fish, and instructions to feed the fish in the morning and at night. They were also given instructions to check their blood glucose at the same time. Once a week, they were to change the fishbowl water and review their glucose logs with a parent.
The other patients did not get a fish but were promised a gift card later. The findings were published in Diabetes Educator in June.
After three months, the fish owners had slightly improved glucose control, as indicated by lower hemoglobin A1C values, while those without a fish had worsened.
Children in that age group tend to see an increase in A1C values over time, Gupta said, “so to bring that down even a small amount is a pretty big triumph.”
When people bring reusable bags to the grocery store, and actually remember to take them in from the car, they are more likely to take another environmentally friendly step and buy more organic products than they might otherwise have.
Then, feeling good about themselves, they treat themselves to indulgences like cookies, ice cream or potato chips, a study in The Journal of Marketing found.
The findings come from researchers at Harvard Business School and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business who analyzed more than 2 million trips to a California supermarket and conducted experiments to determine whether the act of bringing reusable bags actually changed consumer behavior. They concluded that it did.
The researchers attribute the changes to two distinct, largely unconscious processes. The first, called the priming effect, comes into play when you bring reusable bags and then “behave in a congruent fashion, and buy environmentally friendly products,” said Bryan Bollinger, a study co-author and assistant professor at Duke.
Obesity has become so common in canines that even show dogs are overweight.
One in four dogs that placed in the top five in their class in Britain’s Crufts national dog show is overweight, a study in the journal Veterinary Record reports. That is better than the overall percentage of overweight dogs in the country - about half of the pet dogs in Britain are too heavy. But it surprised the study’s authors, since show dogs are supposed to represent the ideal specimens of their breed.
The finding may explain why so many pet owners don’t trust veterinarians who tell them their dog needs to go on a diet, as earlier research found. Images of show dogs are widely disseminated on the Internet and through other media, and may influence pet owners’ perceptions of a dog’s optimal weight, the authors of the new study said.
The authors analyzed 1,120 photographs of dogs representing 28 breeds that had placed at Crufts between 2001 and 2013. Overall, 26 percent of the dogs were deemed overweight.
But there were big differences among breeds. Pugs, basset hounds and Labrador retrievers were most likely to be overweight, whereas very few border terriers, boxers, Dobermans, Hungarian vizslas, standard poodles and Rhodesian ridgebacks carried excess pounds.
New York Times News Service