Uppsala scientists receive honourable mention for Pure Quality Life health site in eHealth Awards contest

Cork 10 May 2004The health site Pure Quality Life (PQL), which has been tested by Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, among others, has been shown to have a clear effect on health. For instance, treatment via the Internet counteracted stress-related reduction of DHEA, an "anti-aging" hormone. PQL is the result of several years of research at Uppsala University, and recently, in stiff European competition, won honourable mention in the finals of the contest titled "eHealth Awards". David Byrne, European Commissioner and Michael Martin, Irish Minister for Health and Children, presented the eEurope Awards for eHealth 2004 at the Conference in Cork, Ireland on 6th May.

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Pure Quality Life is a Web-based life enhancement tool, evaluated in a world-leading prospectively controlled study by researchers from Uppsala University. It is the only health site with effects that have been assesed psycho-physiologically in a controlled study. Over 20.000 users from different backgrounds have registered.

In the last decade stress-related disorders have increased dramatically. A report published by the WHO, "Global Burdern of Disease", predicts that these problems will continue to rise in coming decades. Above and beyond personal suffering, stress-related disorders cause economic distress for individuals, companies, and society in general.

Today there is a large array of health-related services available on the Internet, but quality-assured information and applications are often lacking. PQL is the only method in the world that has managed to create a diagnosis and treatment programme that leads to improvement in stress management, sleep, ability to concentrate, performance, and general well-being, both biological and mental.

What is unique about the research behind PQL is its scientific assessment, using psychosocial, biological, and production measures. The scientists behind the method are Professor Bengt Arnetz and doctoral student Dan Hansson, at the Department of Public Health and Caring Science. A few years ago they became interested in what maintains health in times of change, and chose to monitor various groups at leading international IT companies and sections of Swedish Broadcasting Corporation.

"These are lines of business that undergo tremendous change and often work in short, intensive projects", stated Bengt Arnetz. One group was administered PQL with feedback, while another group followed the treatment via the Internet, for conflict management or stress management, for example. In the latter group a follow-up study showed a clear impact, on the one hand, on sleep and the ability to concentrate and, on the other, on physiological factors, such as sex hormones.

"It turned out that DHEA, a hormone that normally declines with age, did not go down in the group that received treatment", added Bengt Arnetz. PQL, which was developed with research funding from Alecta, is in use as of this year as a health-promoting tool at the university, based on a decision by the university president. The PQL tool is available for free on the Internet, and it is also available in English. It is also sold to companies.

The contest "eHealth Awards" is organised by the European Union Commission, and the winners were chosen in Ireland recently as part of a conference titled "Empowering the Citizens through Tools and Services". The aim of the competition is to promote good models in European Union countries, as well as future members and EFTA countries. It represents an exchange of experience in fulfilment of the Lisbon objectives of making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

The winners are good examples of public services on-line which may offer some good practice. The winners were:

  • Theme 1: eHealth information tools and services for citizens
    • Winner: Health On the Net Foundation, Switzerland - Health On the Net Foundation has developed services to protect citizens from false or misleading health and ethical information. A code of ethical conduct (HONcode) for Web site operators is currently in use by 3600 Web sites. Services for the citizen include an accrediation system for Web site and a search engine/directory of trustworthy information sources.
    • Honourable Mention: PQL- Pure Quality Life, Sweden
  • Theme 2: eHealth administrative support tools and services for citizens
    • Winner: www.sundhed.dk - A Public Health Portal, Denmark - www. sundhed.dk is the main acces point to the primary Health Portal of the Danish health authorities in order to facilitate communication and services between health professionals and citizens. It is also possible to book appointments to the GP, conduct e-mail consultation and renew prescriptions.
    • Honourable Mention: eHospital - IT experience of Hospital Son Llatzer, Spain - eHospital is a full digital, filmless and wireless hospital. Son Llatzer has implemented a global integrated and accessible clinical information system.
  • Theme 3: eHealth homecare and telemedicine tools and services for citizens
    • Winner: Diabcarnet, France - Diabcarnet is the first large-scale on-line electronic logbook used for diabetes monitoring. Any diabetes patient in France can use this eHealth application to better manage their disease in collaboration with a physician.
    • Honourable Mention: Ait Eile, Ireland - Ait Eile is an on-line interactive portal for children in hospital that aims to reduce their sense of isolation by providing communication, educational and entertainment activities.
    • Honourable Mention: VEPSY, Italy - VEPSY - Virtual Environments and Telemedicine for Clinical Psychology project demonstrates the technical and clinical viability of using on/off-line Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) in clinical psychology and disseminates the developed tools to the clinical community.


Leslie Versweyveld

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