The global soda tax experiment May 16, 2022, 8:59 a.m.
The use of taxes to compel people to make healthier choices has a long history with tobacco and alcohol, which are taxed by nearly every country in the world. “There’s decades of work now on tobacco, hundreds of studies from around the world, showing that if you raise prices you induce adults to quit smoking and prevent kids from taking it up,” says Frank Chaloupka, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Research has linked higher cigarette taxes to reduced mortality from throat and lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, Chaloupka and two coauthors wrote earlier this year in the Annual Review of Public Health. Other studies have linked higher taxes to lower rates of hospitalization for heart failure and lessened severity of childhood asthma.
The Paradox of Choice May 16, 2022, 8:43 a.m.
The paradox of choice is a phenomenon where an abundance of options can counterintuitively lead to less happiness, less satisfaction, and hamper the ability to make a decision. 
Improve Consumer Attitudes Toward Your Brand May 9, 2022, 2:56 p.m.
Consumers use a variety of factors to inform their purchase decisions. One of the most all-encompassing models of purchase intention involves attitudes toward the brand and cultural norms as the biggest influencers over brand choice. This is called the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and it underpins much of the thinking about purchases from a marketing perspective. Later models expanded on this one by adding a more nuanced view of purchase intentions, for instance, the Theory of Planned Behavior. Below, you see an image depicting TRA. However, attitudes in this model refer to attitudes toward the behavior rather than attitudes toward the brand. Later models built on TRA included attitude toward the brand as a major factor impacting purchase intentions. And, that’s our topic for today; how attitudes toward the brand impact purchases and how to improve consumer attitudes toward the brand.
Free access to essential medicines increases patient adherence by 35%, reduces healthcare costs May 4, 2022, 7:50 a.m.
A group of researchers led by St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto recruited a total of 786 patients across nine primary care sites in Ontario who reported cost-related non-adherence to medications. Most of the study participants were recruited from St. Michael's Department of Family and Community Medicine and others were recruited from three rural sites. Participants were randomized into two groups - half received free medications via mail, the other half had their usual access to medications.
How can we improve patient adherence to insulin? May 4, 2022, 7:48 a.m.
There are several factors to consider when determining if insulin is the right treatment option for a patient with type 2 diabetes. And once a patient is prescribed insulin therapy, it’s just as important to consider the factors that might lead to nonadherence. That’s why Dr. Charles Turck speaks with Dr. Javier Morales about those factors and how we can improve our patients’ adherence to their insulin regimens.
Simple tools can boost people's savings habits, new research finds May 4, 2022, 7:46 a.m.
Small interventions like altering application forms, using interactive calculators and using infographics can influence people to develop savings habits and to put money away for a rainy day, new research has suggested.
How Nudges Can Be Sinister April 3, 2022, 9:35 a.m.
Nudges are behavioral interventions that help us make better choices, like sticking to our diets. Sometimes, nudge theory is used in cunning ways to deter or slow down behavior change, resulting in sludges. Sludges emerge across contexts like cancelling subscriptions, filling out tedious forms, and the fine print. Designing sludges that harm consumers can often involve dark creativity.
Castles in the Air: How Digitally Enhanced Spaces Connect Us to the Promise of the Past April 3, 2022, 9:34 a.m.
Humanity has evolved in close connection to the spaces and landscapes we inhabit. The concept of "place" is an essential part of human experience. It's something our ancestors instinctively understood but which, in a screen-based world, is too easily forgotten.
The Global Nutrition Transition (Why Nutrition Matters) April 3, 2022, 9:32 a.m.
Today, we will take a close look at the emergence of what is often called the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. This twin epidemic has been taking place all over the world over the last 30-40 years, and it is still getting worse. We will examine the changes in diet that have occurred during this same time frame in several different affected populations. We will see some patterns emerge of specific changes in the diets of these populations that have almost certainly played a major role in the massive changes in body weights and metabolic health.
New research shows what it takes to make society change for the better April 3, 2022, 9:31 a.m.
The research, conducted by the University of Maine, University of Maine at Augusta, University of Vermont and Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, attempted to understand how society can accomplish major, transformative social change, particularly the kind of social change necessary to tackle the growing problem of climate change.
The age of the car is just a blip in history — it’s time we moved on April 3, 2022, 9:30 a.m.
The window of opportunity to take action to mitigate against severe climate change is right now, it won’t last. This isn’t a remote problem that someone else must fix. It’s one we all must embrace. This need for action should guide much of what we do in transport, where emissions are higher than for other sectors. That is the “upstream problem” that should drive every action “downstream” for surface, air and shipping transport. Targets and action should be led by the science.
‘Games are more complex to create than most people think’ April 3, 2022, 9:28 a.m.
Routledge contacted me, looking for new authors for their book series ‘The Psychology of Everything’. They asked me if I would be interested in writing the opus on video games, and since I’m quite passionate about cognitive psychology and games in general, I said yes! It was a great opportunity for me to explain to a broad audience how psychology is used to make games (i.e. human factors psychology and human-computer interaction), what having a ‘UX mindset’ is about (i.e. minding the experience that users will have), and what we currently know about the potential (positive or negative) impact of playing video games.
Using Narrative Evidence to Convey Health Information on Social Media: The Case of COVID-19 April 3, 2022, 9:27 a.m.
During disease outbreaks or pandemics, policy makers must convey information to the public for informative purposes (eg, morbidity or mortality rates). They must also motivate members of the public to cooperate with the guidelines, specifically by changing their usual behavior. Policy makers have traditionally adopted a didactic and formalistic stance by conveying dry, statistics-based health information to the public. They have not yet considered the alternative of providing health information in the form of narrative evidence, using stories that address both cognitive and emotional aspects.
Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It April 3, 2022, 9:25 a.m.
Consider Andy, who is worried about contracting COVID-19. Unable to read all the articles he sees on it, he relies on trusted friends for tips. When one opines on Facebook that pandemic fears are overblown, Andy dismisses the idea at first. But then the hotel where he works closes its doors, and with his job at risk, Andy starts wondering how serious the threat from the new virus really is. No one he knows has died, after all.
A phone and text message intervention to improve physical activity in midlife: initial feasibility testing April 3, 2022, 9:23 a.m.
Physical activity during midlife (ages 45-64) plays a major role in the prevention of chronic and serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, many midlife adults struggle to be physically active in the setting of low levels of psychological well-being and the management of multiple confluent sources of stress. Effective, scalable, midlife-specific interventions are needed to promote physical activity and prevent the development of chronic medical conditions.
A Novel, Inexpensive Use of Smartphone Technology for Ecological Momentary Assessment in Middle-Aged Women April 3, 2022, 9:19 a.m.
Commercially available mobile and Internet technologies present a promising opportunity to feasibly conduct ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel EMA protocol administered on middle-aged women's smartphones via text messaging and mobile Internet.
Effect of a Digitally-Enabled, Preventive Health Program on Blood Pressure in an Adult April 3, 2022, 9:15 a.m.
Participants with elevated SBP and DBP at baseline showed a mean decrease of 7.2 mmHg and 5.4 mmHg, respectively. Additionally, 70% and 72.5% of participants showed an improvement in systolic and diastolic BP at remeasurement. These improvements in BP are superior to those seen in other recent studies. The long-term sustainability and the efficacy of this and similar digital lifestyle interventions will need to be established in additional, larger studies.
It’s Time to Harness the Arts and Cultural Sector in Our Fight Against Climate Change April 3, 2022, 9:14 a.m.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced he will soon be holding a national summit on the recovery of the arts and culture sector. Among the topics of discussion will be the critical role for the cultural sector in the fight against climate change. That’s good news.
Digital Health Disconnect Creates Unnecessary Roadblock to Patient Engagement April 3, 2022, 8:56 a.m.
In the race to roll out telehealth offerings and digital patient engagement tools during the height of the pandemic, many providers and health plans inadvertently created a rag-tag assortment of patient portals, health apps and clunky websites that can be impossible to navigate and even more difficult to integrate with existing tech infrastructure. To overcome these obstacles, providers and payers need to take a holistic approach to digital patient engagement, one that makes it seamless for patients to coordinate care with multiple providers across digital, telehealth and face-to-face interactions.
Smart pharmaceutical packs find support from seniors – if user friendly March 25, 2022, 4:35 p.m.
Research has shown that approximately half of the patients with chronic diseases in developed nations do not take their medication properly. With an aging population, where taking multiple medications is common, incorrect medication-taking is a problem impacting the health of patients and costs healthcare systems billions of dollars.