World Bank holds apps contest; NIH uses texts, Facebook for weight loss

Judging for the World Bank's innovation competition will start Jan. 31, and the National Institutes of Health is conducting clinical trials using social media and mobile devices for weight loss.

Calling all software developers who want global exposure: The World Bank wants you to submit your original software application to its Apps for Development innovation competition this month.

Software developers are being encouraged to submit original applications for the Web, PCs, mobile devices or other widely used platforms. The applications should use World Bank datasets and deal with one or more of the goals of reducing world poverty and hunger and increasing health and education.

Indications of interest must be received by Jan. 10 and judging begins on Jan. 31. See details here.

In other social media news, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding seven clinical trials starting this year that will use innovative technologies such as text messaging, social networks and Bluetooth-enabled weight scales to help young adult participants lose weight.

The studies are being funded with $36 million over five years, according to a recent news release.

For example, at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, researchers will use the iPod Touch, webinars, and podcasts to deliver behavioral weight loss help to young adults who are trying to quit smoking.

University of Pittsburgh researchers will use text message reminders to see if how effectively they can help with in a weight loss intervention. And Cornell University/University of Rochester, N.Y., will test Internet-based programs to promote the health of pregnant and postpartum women.

See all the clinical trials — and learn where to sign up — here.