Digital Therapeutics Platform Effective for Weight Loss, BMI Reduction

Plus size woman during an arm strength workout at a sports club.
Study finds that the use of a digital therapeutics platform in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome can lead to a reduction in both weight and body mass index.
HealthDay News — People with severe mental illness (SMI) have higher risks for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Molecular Psychiatry. Lamiece Hassan, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated COVID-19-related infection, hospitalization, and mortality among people with SMI participating in the UK Biobank cohort study. The analysis included data from 447,296 participants (schizophrenia/psychosis: 1,925 patients; bipolar disease: 1,483 patients; and major depressive disorder: 41,448 patients; plus 402,440 with no SMI) that was linked to health care and death records. The researchers found higher odds of COVID-19 mortality among people with schizophrenia/psychosis (odds ratio [OR], 4.84), bipolar disease (OR, 3.76), and major depressive disorder (OR, 1.99) versus people with no SMI. Across all SMI groups, higher odds of infection and hospitalization were also seen, particularly among people with schizophrenia/psychosis (OR, 1.61 and 3.47, respectively) and bipolar disease (OR, 1.48 and 3.31, respectively). Mortality and hospitalization remained significantly higher among all SMI groups in fully adjusted models, while infection odds remained significantly higher only for major depressive disorder. “Only a proportion of these disparities were accounted for by preexisting demographic characteristics or comorbidities,” the authors write. “Vaccination and preventive measures should be prioritized in these particularly vulnerable groups.” Abstract/Full Text

The use of a digital therapeutics platform in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome can lead to a reduction in both weight and body mass index (BMI), thereby reducing risk for comorbidities, according to study results presented at the 30th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (ENVISION 2021).

Digital therapeutic platforms allow clinicians to deliver lifestyle-modification interventions remotely. These interventions have the potential to influence weight loss in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome through the delivery of evidence-based care even in settings that are resource-limited.

Researchers evaluated engagement of patients with the Wellthy CARE™ Digital Therapeutics (WDTx) Platform and effectiveness of the platform in influencing lifestyle modifications and enabling weight loss in patients with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

The WDTx Platform provides a 52-week lifestyle modification program focused on diet, physical activity, weight management, remote patient monitoring, glycemic control, and blood pressure control. The platform provides artificial intelligence-augmented healthcare tracking, evidence-backed content, and personalized health coach support.

The study participants (n=196; 19.4% women; mean age 46.1 years, baseline BMI of 23 kg/m2) used the WDTx Platform over a 52-week period. The investigators reported 418 average app interactions per user. Study participants with metabolic syndrome had an average of 734 app interactions per user.

Study participants who were considered high interactors — those in the highest quartile of engagement with the app — lost 3 kg of weight compared with those in the lowest quartile of interaction who lost 1.2 kg, representing a 2.5-times difference between quartiles.

The investigators saw a significant reduction in mean body weight among all WDTx platform users at the end of the program compared with measurement at baseline, as well as by category (overweight, obese I, and obese II) and among patients with metabolic syndrome.

“This study demonstrates the real-world effectiveness of the [WDTx] platform amongst people with obesity and metabolic syndrome,” the researchers concluded, adding that higher platform engagement led to both weight loss and BMI reduction and a subsequent reduction in comorbidity risk for these patient populations.

Disclosures: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

HealthDay News — In an effort to further lower lead levels in drinking water, the Biden administration on Thursday announced $2.9 billion in infrastructure bill funds for lead pipe removal and tighter lead limits. The new, tougher limits to be imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are expected to be finalized by 2024 and would require the replacement of remaining lead drinking water pipes as quickly as possible, the White House said in a statement announcing the new plan. “Over the past year, I have visited with and heard from communities in Chicago, Flint, Jackson, and many other areas that are impacted by lead in drinking water,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in an agency statement. “These conversations have underscored the need to proactively remove lead service lines, especially in low-income communities. The science on lead is settled — there is no safe level of exposure and it is time to remove this risk to support thriving people and vibrant communities.” In remarks made at the AFL-CIO Washington, D.C., headquarters on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the goal is lofty. “The challenge that we face is, without any question, great. Lead is built into our cities. It is laid under our roads and it is installed in our homes,” Harris said. Environmental advocates had mixed reactions to the 10-year plan. “The top priority must be to require removal of all lead pipes within the decade and to set a strict at-the-tap standard, which is the only way to prevent another generation of kids from drinking water through what is essentially a lead straw,” Erik Olson, senior strategic director of health at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Associated Press. “Good intentions won’t be enough to get the job done.” John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America, told the AP that the plans are “long overdue and an indispensable step toward securing safe water.” He also said the EPA should set a 10-year deadline to replace lead service lines, as New Jersey did in July. Associated Press Article


Adhikary R, Kolwankar S, Verma R, et al. Real-world effectiveness of digital therapeutics towards achieving weight loss in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Presented at: 2021 AACE Virtual Annual Meeting, May 26-29, 2021.

This article originally appeared on Endocrinology Advisor