Viewing medical images encourages patients to adopt healthier lifestyles, meta-analysis finds

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Showing patients their medical images could encourage them to take a more proactive approach to their health, according to a new study published in OLP Medicine.

The meta-analysis of over 9,000 participants found that when patients who undergo medical imaging see their results accompanied by a personalized review of their own disease risk, they are more likely to reduce risky behaviors, including by following a healthier diet and exercising regularly.

“There is ongoing clinical and research interest in determining whether providing personalized risk information could motivate risk-reducing health behaviors,” explained corresponding author Garreth J. Hollands, of the research unit on Behavior and Health from the University of Cambridge, and colleagues. “One of these interventions involves returning images generated through medical imaging technologies that assess an individual’s current disease status or risk.”

The meta-analysis included controlled trials of adults who underwent medical imaging procedures to assess health status and disease risk, for which personal risk can be reduced by lifestyle changes. Behaviors monitored included smoking, drug use, physical activity, diet, oral hygiene habits, sun protection, use of tanning booths, blood sugar testing, self – skin examination and foot care.

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