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More than 1,700 people raised $400,000 at the Great Escape last weekend in support of a Type 1 diabetes cure. The money went to JDRF — the Juvenile Diabetes Research Funding and advocacy agency that leads the global effort.

There are more than 70 JDRF-funded clinical trials underway now, trying out therapies. Funding efforts like the 2-mile walk at Great Escape keeps those trials going. Two trials are now being tested on people.

Scientists are experimenting with creating an artificial pancreas to produce insulin, replacing pancreatic cells and developing a new form of insulin that can turn on and off in response to blood sugar levels.

These are all promising ideas, but there is no cure yet.

Participants who raised at least $100 got into the amusement park for free Saturday, which was also opening day.

Great Escape provided lunch, a kid’s zone and a photo booth station for the walkers. JDRF also provided a Moms Tent in honor of Mother’s Day. All mothers of children with Type 1 Diabetes were offered mocktails and massage chairs.

Program helps kids control themselves

Catholic school children at St. Mary’s–St. Alphonsus will learn emotional regulation in a bid to reduce their chances of later getting addicted to drugs or alcohol.

It’s a new effort funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The office funded the Pax Good Behavior Game, which has been used in many classrooms to create a better learning environment. The skills it teaches can help reduce drug addiction.

The goal is to teach “the lifelong skills needed to lead drug-free, happy and productive lives,” the office’s commissioner, Arlene González-Sánchez, said in a statement.

In the game, students try to avoid negative behavior while working on frustrating tasks, such as an academic lesson. If each team of students can complete the task with fewer than four negative behaviors, they win. The goal is for every team to win.

The winners get a special activity as a reward, such as one minute of dancing or a 10-second giggle fest.

The games are brief at first — only a minute or so — but eventually first-graders can play the game for 45 minutes without anyone “losing.”

While teachers like the program, because it helps children learn how to focus on a task, it’s the game’s rewards that teach children the self-regulation they will need to avoid addiction.

They have to learn manage the “high” of excitement during the reward — they must go back to work moments later — as well as how to regulate their emotions when they don’t win the reward.

The office funded the game for 25 classrooms in five Catholic Diocese schools in the area, including Glens Falls, Ballston Spa, Albany, Troy and Schenectady. The Albany Diocesan School Board received $165,000 in total for the 25 classrooms.

Better blood transfusions at Saratoga Hospital

Saratoga Hospital has renovated and expanded its infusion therapy unit, where outpatients get blood transfusions, IV fluids and other infusions.

There are now eight patient bays, rather than three, and each has its own TV and room for a support person to stay with the patient.

The unit was previously in an interior space. It was moved to a new location with windows that let in natural light.

“These infusions can take four to eight hours, so the setting can make a big difference,” said Terry DeLong, director of the A3 Outpatient Infusion/Transfusion Unit.

Patients often have cancer or blood disorders.

“Some patients need infusions to get them through a rough period. Others receive the treatments as part of long-term therapy,” DeLong said. “Either way, we do everything we can to make their time with us as pleasant as possible.”

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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reporter - Health care, Moreau, Queensbury, South Glens Falls

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