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A longitudinal study assessing an IT-supported neurological feedback in obesity intervention for children and adolescent emotional self control

D. Büchter; T. Kowatsch; I. Pletikosa; Y. Schütz; Wolfgang Maaß; J. Laimbacher
Swiss Medical Weekly, Vol. 21, 2014.


New approaches in the treatment of obesity in childhood and adolescent are necessary. Therefore we developed a mobile health information system (MHIS), which is able to help patients controlling there emotions in concern of their eating habits. We used neurological biofeedback to identify individual items that are able to support the patient to overcome the strong impulse of uncontrolled eating. To identify the right item we used a skin conductance approach. IT-supported emotional interventions promise to help therapists and patients with objective real-time data in real-life situations of patients. As a result, therapists are able to guide patients more effectively without the need for several investigative hours of consultations. The usefulness of a mobile health information system in this point has already been shown in a preliminary study but results from a longitudinal investigation are still missing. A one-year longitudinal study has therefore been started in December 2013. Four objectives are addressed in this study: (1) evaluation of the technical feasibility of the MHIS in a real-life intervention setting, (2) evaluation of the practical application of the MHIS-supported intervention, (3) evaluation of the feasibility of the evaluation instruments and, (4) preliminary identification of significant predictors and medical effects of MHIS use. 13 patients in the eastern part and 6 patients in the western part of Switzerland participate in MHIS obesity intervention. In addition, seven patients have been assigned to a control group without MHIS support. It is assumed that the MHIS increases the individual and shared understanding in therapist and patient teams with regard to health knowledge, which, in turn, is expected to increase medical outcome parameters.

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