Study Finds Coaching App Sweetch Helps Patients with Prediabetes Lower Hba1C Levels
In a recent study, researchers at John Hopkins found that patient with prediabetes who used the lifestyle coaching app Sweetch were able to lose weight, increase activity, and lower HBa1C (glycated hemoglobin) levels, which are used to measure average blood glucose level over the past three months. Prediabetes is a condition that occurs in patients with an abnormally high blood glucose level, and if left untreated can progress to type II diabetes.
The study, published in JMIR, found that participant lost a mean 3.5 pounds and significantly improved weekly physical activity over the course of the three-month trial. Participants also saw a decrease in HBa1C or glycated hemoglobin levels, although the researchers did not find any significant change in fasting blood glucose level.
Researchers believe that the app could likely present comparable long-term efficacy to other types of interventions. Because the program is entirely automated, it could be easily scaled to treat a large number of patients while avoiding the risks of secondary effects presented by pharmaceutical intervention.
“The fact that the study demonstrated both weight and A1C reductions at only three months suggests that long-term effects will be comparable, if not superior, to existing interventions,” Dr. Nestoras Mathioudakis, clinical director of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Johns Hopkins and the study’s leader, said in a statement. “Most importantly, Sweetch’s machine learning technology enables fully automated intervention; hence, supporting larger-scale deployment with greater cost-effectiveness potential when compared with human-based diabetes prevention solutions.”
The app owes some of its success to its AI programming, which allows it to adapt solutions to the unique needs of each user.
The Sweetch app uses artificial intelligence to personalize interventions for users. It is designed to promote adherence to physical activity as well as weight reductions and diet guidelines for people with prediabetes, according to the study. While the app can address multiple chronic conditions, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity, in this study it focused solely on prediabetes.
In addition to receiving positive feedback for overall health outcomes, the app also received high marks for retention (86%) and usability (78%), and did not exhibit any safety concerns.
“The Sweetch mobile platform was well received by participants and was effective at increasing PA and reducing body weight and A1c over three months without any adverse effects,” researchers wrote in the study. “The study results are promising, but future studies will be required to confirm the sustainability of these findings over a longer follow-up period.”