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  • Guest blogger and reviewer, Just Average Jen, started her blog as a way of sharing her weight loss success and inspiring others to change their lives as she has. Jen recently reviewed the Activ8rlives Body Analyser smart scales.   When I was contacted and asked to review a set of these Activ8rlives Body Analyser Bluetooth Smart Scales I was quite excited as I have only ever used normal digital scales at home or the Slimming World scales at my Slimming World group so the idea of fancy scales like this appealed to me. I was also to be reviewing the BuddyBand2 activity monitor and sleep tracker made by the same company so was keen to see how both would work with the Activ8rlives4 Wellness & Food Diary App they provide to track various elements of your health. First Impressions Initially I was a little daunted by the scales as there is a quite chunky instruction booklet with them. The scales I had used previously were the kind you pop batteries in and set to kg or lb/st and then jump on them, usually followed by crying at the numbers it shows! However, on closer inspection to the booklet I saw it wasn't as bad as I had imagined and they looked easy to operate! A support phone number to call for assistance if any problems were encountered during set up was very reassuring. I was also very impressed that the scales weigh up to 180kb (400lb), which I think is brilliant. So many scales weigh to around 22/23 stones and when I was at my largest weight I found this difficult as if I was at the very largest end of the bracket they could weigh I worried they were not accurate and of course many people are not actually sure what they weigh. For this reason I think these are a great buy as there is less fear that they won’t hold your weight if you are large. Appearance The scales have a black tempered glass top and a very sturdy feeling plastic base. They look very stylish and well made as you can see on my photos. They have a good weight so don't feel at all flimsy. Initial Set Up Setting the scales up was very easy and just involved putting the batteries (included) in the base of the scales. Installing the Activ8rlives4 App and connecting the scales to it is very straight forward. Despite my initial fears the instruction booklet was very detailed in how to set up the app and scales along with troubleshooting for if any problems were encountered. I didn't need to use the support phone number or troubleshooting pages of the booklet as set up was so straight forward. Day to day use and accuracy Every time I used them I found them easy to work and did not encounter any issues once I had found a hard, flat floor to use them on as this is recommended rather than carpet. Despite me not being too impressed with the numbers shown on the scales they were I believe accurate in comparison to my other scales and the ones I weigh on at my Slimming World group, which are regularly calibrated. The scales not only measure weight but they also give muscle mass, body fat, visceral fat and bone mass. The measurements all automatically are sent by Bluetooth to the app, which shows your weight, BMI and all the other measurements and updates every time the scales are used. Any Problems or suggestions? Other than suggesting that the scales told lies and pretended that I was lighter than I actually am there is nothing I can think of that I would change about these scales. They do the job and give various information which seems to be accurate so I would definitely recommend them if you are looking for scales that have all these functions. Where can the Activ8rlives Body Analyser Bluetooth Smart Scales be bought? It is available for £49.99 directly from www.activ8rlives.com, on Amazon, and Ebay.   This item was sent to me in return for a review on Just Average Jen. The words above are my own views of the product as I will always give my honest views of a product and will never guarantee a company a positive review, only that I will review and give my true honest experiences of a product. 
  • Self-Management of Asthma improves patient quality of life, reduces symptoms and visits to Accident and Emergency. Asthma affects 334 million of us Worldwide. In the UK we take-up 6 million appointments with our GPs and 100,000 of us are admitted to hospital via A&E as a result of this long-term condition. Even more tragically, 1,468 people died from asthma attacks in the UK in 2015, an increase of 21% compared with the previous year (1,212) according to the UK’s National Offices of Statistics. Yet worse, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Sadly, only 23% of those who died had received formal education on how to manage their asthma and a staggering 43% had not sought or received medical attention in their final attack. Researchers in Scotland have recently published the results of a “study of studies” compiling research from 277 separate investigations involving thousands of patients involved in a range of Self-Management plans, which are developed in collaboration with their healthcare professionals (called a Self-Management Care Pathway). Self-Management is where we learn how to better manage our asthma, what our triggers are, what to do as our symptoms worsen, how to measure these objectively, what medication we need to have to control and prevent symptoms and how we get medical support to keep us up-to-date and on the right meds for us. This information is summarised in our Personal Action and Care Plan and every asthmatic should have one. The researchers of this report (Systematic meta-review of supported self-management for asthma: a healthcare perspective) provides a series of key facts, supported with evidence, of how those of us with asthma can better self-manage our condition: Self-Management works. It reduces the severity of our symptoms which gives us a better quality of life. It reduces the likelihood that we will be rushed to A&E with an asthma attack. It saves the NHS money by not taking-up emergency services when our hospitals are struggling. Asthmatics with a written Care and Action Plan are four times LESS LIKELY to have to go to A&E as a result of our asthma (Asthma UK). Self-Management costs money to implement, but the savings of not using A&E or being admitted to hospital more than pay for the costs. The Self-Management ethos must be taken seriously by all those involved: patients, the healthcare professionals treating us in our hospitals or in the community, policy makers, those that pay for health services locally (Commissioners), employers and teachers at school. The researchers identified six key elements that make a good Care and Action plan for those of us with asthma. It can be boiled down to some simple actions: Education. The more educated we have about our asthma, the fewer emergency treatments in hospital we use. We need to learn what to do, why and when. Tools: We need to see when our symptoms are getting worse. Using symptom scores and measuring lung function with a Peak Flow monitor improves the measurement control in both adults and children (over 5yrs) so that we can detect when our symptoms are getting worse. Triggers: Knowing what triggers our asthma and how to avoid them. Medication: What medication prevents our symptoms, what medications do we take to relieve symptoms and which of our medications do we need to take if symptoms continue to get progressively worse. Behaviour change: Our attitude to taking our medications as they are supposed to be taken can be a huge challenge and all of us need to work on this. Regular medical reviews: To make sure we are using our inhalers correctly, are on the right medication and dose for us and to update our Action and Care Plan. None of these six steps are hard to do. But we need to learn, plan, develop our monitoring skills and act on the instructions in our plan. Simple to do and could save our life or the life of those we care about.   The full research paper can be downloaded for free here: Systematic meta-review of supported self-management for asthma: a healthcare perspective. Hilary Pinnock et al. BMC Medicine201715:64 Published: 17 March 2017. Accessed online 22/3/17 http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-017-0823-7  
  • There is a new sense that a growing lack of sleep or insomnia can store up future health problems for us. Some would even go far enough to say: “Sleep is a key marker of health and good sleep habits are critical for improving the quality of life (1).” This is supported by considerable research indicating the scale of insomnia and that significant sleep disorders are associated with reduced quality of life, increased healthcare costs, and increased risks for serious mental health and medical comorbidities (2,3). Insomnia is the difficulty of getting to sleep or not staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. There are many triggers for insomnia and these generally fall into the categories of: stress and anxiety, a poor sleeping environment, lifestyle factors, mental and physical health conditions and certain medicines. But sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be a plausible cause. Sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death, says a recent study. With the calculation based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work (4). The main impact was on health, with those sleeping less than six hours a night 13% more likely to die earlier than those getting seven to nine hours. So how much sleep should we be getting? Guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation in the US, provide helpful recommendations of how many hours of sleep you need at every stage of your life (1). The sleep range for newborns to 3-month-olds should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day; school-aged children (6-13 years) should be getting 9 to 11 hours; teenagers (14 – 17 years) should range from 8 to 10 hours; adults 7 to 9 hours and older adults (65+ years) 7 to 8 hours each night. So, do you wake feeling tired and exhausted, ready to put your alarm back into snooze mode or do you jump out of bed ready to take on an active packed day? Do you know if your sleep quality is good, indifferent or poor? Well there’s been a bit of a consumer pull for consumer-friendly sleep testing devices. And not surprisingly we generally prefer to undertake sleep testing at home, because it’s more comfortable, more cost-effective, and those of us who have insomnia are willing to tackle the problem by self-monitoring. And researchers agree that having insomnia, we are more likely to investigate self-monitoring or recording of our sleep on a night-by-night basis with a sleep diary or other tracking devices (5,6). One such device on the market is the Activ8rlives BuddyBand2 Waterproof Health Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker Smart Watch. It tracks your sleep patterns and cycles, allowing you to understand when you are in a deep-, light- or disturbed-sleep cycle, therefore helping you to become more aware of your patterns and take more control of your sleep. Caption: Activ8rlives4 Sleep Tracking function by the popular BuddyBand2 analyses your sleep cycles nightly and over time. Other than stating the obvious of going to bed earlier, the Sleep Council suggest following these 10 tips to send you off to blissful solid sleep, waking refreshed in the next morning (7). So, what’s the trick to getting a good night’s sleep? In a Sleep in America® poll those who categorised themselves as vigorous exercisers had fewer sleep problems in the previous two weeks than the other subsets of moderate or non-exercisers (8). Less time sitting during the day was also associated with better sleep and health quality. While the Sleep Council would advocate not undertaking vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, there were no major differences found between the data for individuals responding to the Sleep in America® poll. The conclusion they drew was that exercise or physical activity in general, is good for sleep, regardless of the time of day of the activity performed (8). A miracle cure points to evidence that regular physical activity can improve your sleep quality as well as reducing your risk of dementia, type-2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, heart disease, other serious common conditions – reducing the risk of each by at least 30%. Activ8rlives has always supported habitual activity with its free Activ8rlives membership to record your activity and many other health parameters. Why don’t you combine the multi-feature BuddyBand2 as your activity tracker with built-in sleep tracker combined available via our website www.activ8rlives.com.   References: (1)   Maurice Ohayon, et al. National Sleep Foundation's sleep quality recommendations: first report. Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. February 2017Volume 3, Issue 1, p6–19. (2)   M. Daley, et al. The economic burden of insomnia: Direct and indirect costs for individuals with insomnia syndrome, insomnia symptoms, and good sleeper. Sleep, 2009, vol. 32 (p55-64). (3)   S.D. Kyle and K Morgan, et al. Insomnia and health-related quality of life. Sleep Med Rev, 2010, vol. 14 (p69-82). (4)   Marco Hafner, et al. Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross-country comparative analysis. RAND Corporation, 2016. Accessed 9/2/17 http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1791.html (5)   R.R. Bootzin, et al. Behavioural treatments for insomnia. Progress in behaviour modification, 1978, vol. Vol 6. New York Academic Press (p1-45)10. (6)   R.R. Bootzin, et al. The assessment of insomnia, Behav Assess. 1981, vol. 3 (p107-26). (7)   The Sleep Council. http://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/professionals/advice-sheets/ Accessed online 9/2/17 (8)   Sleep in America® poll. National Sleep Foundation reports, 2013, 2014, 2015.  Accessed 9/2/17 http://www.sleephealthjournal.org/content/sleepinamerica
  • Asthma affects the lives of 5.4 million people across the UK. Every ten seconds someone in the UK has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. In a recent survey by Asthma UK, 82% of asthmatics feel that they do not have their asthma under control (1). Tragically, three people die every day from asthma but two thirds of these deaths could be prevented with learning how to become expert in asthma management and developing a self-care plan agreed with your GP or asthma nurse for yourself or family member. These asthma signs may be all too familiar as they build up over a few hours or days causing an Asthma attack (2). You may have: wheezing, cough or tight chest that gets worse; too breathless to speak, eat or sleep; breathing that gets faster and it feels like you can't catch your breath or you feel you have a tight band around your chest; pain in your chest when you do rigorous exercise; a tummy ache may also be a complaint of children; reliever inhaler (usually blue) isn't helping; or your peak flow score is lower than normal. Good consistent self-care can arrest the escalation of an asthma event from becoming an attack in most instances, but there are still too many tragic examples where this isn’t happening. The following steps can help you or a family member reduce the risks of having an asthma attack: Follow your personal asthma action plan and take your medicines as prescribed, particularly the preventer even if you feel you’re feeling well. Have regular asthma reviews with your GP or asthma nurse – these should be done at least once a year for adults and every six months for children. Check with your GP, asthma nurse or pharmacist that you're using your inhaler correctly. Avoid triggers or allergens that set off your symptoms where possible. Get into the habit of recording any triggers, symptoms and asthma events into a diary, such as Activ8rlives4 Wellness and Food Diary. Check your Peak Flow regularly, particularly if your symptoms worsen. Don't ignore your symptoms if they're getting worse or you need to use your reliever inhaler more than usual. Make an urgent appointment if your symptoms continue to get worse. If you do have an acute asthma attack, always attend a follow-up appointment with your GP or asthma nurse to ensure you are improving the management of your asthma. If you’ve been seen at hospital or out-of-hour’s clinic, book a follow-up appointment for you with your GP. Before the winter flu and cold season starts, ensure you get the appropriate vaccination from your GP or Pharmacy. And it's important that your family, friends, school or work colleagues know how to help in an emergency. If you would like to learn more about Asthma symptoms, medication, action plans and what to do in the event of an asthma attack, follow these excellent links. References: 1 Asthma UK. https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/ Accessed online 11th January, 2017. 2 NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Asthma/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed online 11th January, 2017.      
  • Psychological treatment and education can be useful, too, more so than drugs, study finds. Written by Alan Mozes, HealthDay News.
Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring

Our strategy is to develop expert systems which can be used by consumers and their healthcare service providers to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring at home

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Biomarker Tests

Biomarker Tests

A natural extension of this philosophy is the Company's development of a home-based test to predict flare-ups in chest infections (in people of all ages) who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare

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Always Connected

Always Connected

Our strategy is to enable self-management through self-monitoring without needing PCs, Smartphones, Tablets and the dedicated medical touch screen devices that are often deployed in telemedicine.

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Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Aseptika is developing a home-based rapid and quantitative biomarker test for a common bacterial lung infection and 3rd generation devices for use with long-term lung disease sufferers. Clinical trials will be undertaken with NHS partners to validate their clinical effectiveness.

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Corporate Wellness

Corporate Wellness

By supporting and providing your employees with the right tools to self-monitor their health and by encouraging and rewarding them, your employees can benefit from a healthier life and be more productive as a result

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Healthcare Collaborators

Healthcare Collaborators

We work with a highly talented team of collaborators, brilliant technologists, passionate clinicians, mentors/supporters in the NHS and of course, our customers and volunteers whom we adore

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