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Aug 03

zeckNovartis Vaccines has launched a new health game targeting the German market to raise awareness of tick-born encephalitis (in German, Zeckenencephalitis). Zeck Attack is a simple arcade-style game in which players shoot ticks at unsuspecting victims who are relaxing in parks and other outdoor settings. It’s a classic race against the clock in which points are earned for each person shot with a tick, and points are lost if you accidentally shoot a doctor holding a vaccine.

Click here to play the game.

Jul 12

Just a few days ago my doctor was lamenting that nobody my age exercises anymore, while encouraging me to get more active. I used the usual excuse, “But Doc, I’m busy!” He explained that people make a mistake in thinking that they need to work out 30 minutes or an hour at a time, or that they have to go whole hog and join a gym or hire a trainer. He said the secret is to think small, and demonstrated how you can do a variety of stretches, for example, using a regular chair and you can do them while you’re on the phone, or even watching TV.

Indeed over half the US population is overweight or obese and only 33.5% of the population engages in regular physical activity (source: National Center for Health Statistics). The most common excuse is “lack of time,” yet we have no problem filling our spare minutes checking Facebook on our phone or skimming a magazine.

Fortunately, Cabot Creamery and Contagion Health have teamed up to make tiny, social bursts of activity easy to fit into your day. Cabot’s sponsored fitness community, “Get Up and Mooove“, is a fun, easy way to make exercise a top priority, one ‘microchoice’ at a time. It turns out you can do 15 jumping jacks just about anytime, anywhere.

Get Up and Move lets you set up a free account, then uses social media sites you already know, like Twitter and Facebook, to send challenge invitations to people you know and love. Each challenge is a simple, two-way pledge: “I will _________ if you will ____________.”

You can do any kind of challenge on Get Up and Move. Examples include walking with your dog, doing a few pushups, playing Wii Fit - even grating Cabot cheese for 15 minutes (hey, it’s a surprisingly good arm workout!). Just finish a few challenges a day, before you know it, you’ll have done the 30 minutes of movement per day recommended by the American Heart Association.

Visit Get Up and Mooove and sign-up. Then I will do 10 pushups if you 10 deep knee bends.

Meet Contagion Health co-founder, Jen McCabe, and hear her thoughts on behavior change, mobile health, and life in a Health 2.0 startup at e-Patient Connections 2010 (September 28-29, Philadelphia).

Jun 21

healthseeker2From the press release:

A new game called HealthSeeker™ launched today to more than 400 million active users of Facebook, with the goal of helping adults with specific lifestyle and nutritional challenges. While the benefits of the game are available to anyone, HealthSeeker specifically helps people with diabetes make more informed lifestyle decisions in an innovative way that complements their daily use of social media.

HealthSeeker is a unique online experience that combines a supportive social networking environment with important information on managing diabetes. The game utilizes the player’s own Facebook friends as sources of inspiration and support along the road to better health.

The game was developed by Diabetes Hands Foundation in collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, with financial support provided from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Actual game design was done by Ayogo Games.

This is a great example of how life science companies can participate in social media and gaming, and a solid model of partnering with worthy non-profits.