Lyfebulb Partners with UnitedHealth Group to Support Patient-Driven Innovations for People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lyfebulb, a chronic disease-focused, patient-empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation, is partnering with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) to launch an innovation challenge featuring new businesses and products aimed at treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, up to 1.3 million people in the United States are affected by IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group will help raise awareness for the conditions and stimulate user-driven innovation. By linking entrepreneurs with representatives from UnitedHealth Group and Lyfebulb, the partnership will spotlight the entrepreneurs’ efforts and ideas, and provide professional discussion, direction and inspiration.

The innovation challenge, to take place in the spring and summer of 2018, will be open to entrepreneurs living with IBD, or who have family members living with IBD, who have founded a company to develop an innovative idea for better management of IBD using pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices or consumer products. Eligibility criteria and official rules will be announced by Lyfebulb in April. UnitedHealth Group will host an innovation event in July for 10 finalists. A panel of judges will award cash prizes to three winners, to be used for their company’s further development of the winning innovations.

“Patients living with chronic disease and caregivers caring for someone with chronic disease understand the many challenges they face and are often in the best position to offer tangible solutions,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president, Research & Development, UnitedHealth Group. “UnitedHealth Group’s partnership with Lyfebulb will help place the patient at the center of early-stage innovation, thus providing us a unique opportunity to learn from and be inspired by patient-entrepreneurs.”

“This partnership with UnitedHealth Group in IBD means a tremendous amount to Lyfebulb in our efforts to enhance patient-driven innovation,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Continuing to build on the concept of patient entrepreneurs and partnering with leaders across health care are key components to fulfilling our mission to improve the quality of life of people living with chronic disease.”

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, CEO Lyfebulb, phone: 917-575-0210 email: karin@lyfebulb.com

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, Industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and IBD.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

Press Contact for UnitedHealth Group:
Jim Merwin, Senior Director, ERD, phone: 952-936-6070, to email: james_merwin@uhg.com

Life With Crohn’s Is A Struggle, But I Am DETERMINED.

Normal. This is what everyone seems to strive for. However, this is definitely not me. I live my everyday life experiencing things a normal person doesn’t, and hopefully never will.

For an eighteen-year-old, I have endured a lot of pain. How? When I was sixteen, I started experiencing weight loss, abdominal pains, loss of menstrual cycles, fatigue, the list goes on. I thought it was just from being so busy with school and basketball, so I shook it off. Then, at the basketball state championships, my body started to act much worse. Eating food was irritating me, drinking water was irritating me, any activity was hard; I just wasn’t myself. So, I decided it was time to do something about it.

In all honesty, I never thought this would end up changing my life, but that is exactly what happened. I went to my pediatrician and they gave me a pregnancy test. I knew that wasn’t what I was experiencing, so I knew the test would be negative.  They sent me to a gastro doctor. He ordered me to take some tests and gave me a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Immediately, he diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease. Being a sixteen-year-old, I immediately thought …”What? My chromosomes are off?!” Then, he explained what Crohn’s Disease was.

Being a sixteen-year-old, I immediately thought …”What? My chromosomes are off?!” Then, he explained what Crohn’s Disease was.

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic disease and a form of Irritable Bowel Disease. Basically, my immune system attacked my intestines, causing ulcers and things of that nature. So, all throughout my intestines are painful sores. Certain foods – in all reality most foods – activities, rest, and life in general, irritate them. This causes extreme abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, being sore, mood swings, and causes life to be very difficult. Also, the intestines don’t absorb nutrients like it is supposed to, causing malnutrition, weight loss, and loss of menstrual cycles.

My gastro started me off on Asocol and Prednisone. When I took those, I got way worse. I started dropping weight left and right. People thought that I had an eating disorder. I heard that so much I began to believe them. This all caused me so much pain. I even noticed people distancing away from me because they got depressed just looking at me. I started to get weak, sports became harder for me. However, I somehow managed to train harder and make the All-Star basketball team, captain of the basketball team, and the MVP award. I am a person that won’t let anything stop me. I have tons of determination and love to prove others wrong.

Despite all this, my life was a wreck. I could barely eat or drink anything. I couldn’t keep food in because of how much pain it gave me. All I wanted to do was exercise because it helped me feel better.  But I began to notice that I grew tired faster, and surfing became way harder for me. This realization depressed me. Surfing is something I really enjoy.


Myself, my family, friends, and even my doctors were all watching me slowly wither away. I lost around 30 pounds very fast and was way underweight. My gastro ordered me to take more tests, gave me another colonoscopy and endoscopy, but couldn’t seem to figure out how to help. Desperately, my gastro tried a new medicine on me called Imuran. This has not helped either. The summer after I graduated high school, I felt God telling me to go see a holistic doctor. I remember thinking, “Lord, You know we don’t have money for this! If this is your will, however, I trust You to supply the way like You graciously promised in Your Word.” We took a step of faith and acted on His request. I have to say, I DO NOT regret it!

Yes, this is expensive, but I am able to eat, drink, and to live! No, my body is not like it used to be, and I still experience these symptoms, but I am way better than I was in just a few months! I have gained around twenty pounds, started lifting instead of cardio, and am eating more. I changed my mindset and am starting to enjoy life more again. I started a blog on Instagram called @thenuttycrohnie, drum for my church worship band, (of course) ball at the courts, attend college, surf, and work.

I have to admit that all of this is still very hard for me. I still don’t have my menstrual cycle. (Not that I’m complaining about that! I hate periods as it is!) But, I know it is something I should have. Unfortunately, I can only work one day a week due to my health, and even that is hard. But I am so happy to see these improvements! A little goes a long way! I know one day I will be a bodybuilder, I will be able to work, I will have more energy! It’s all in time and effort! Yes, life is a struggle, but as always, I am DETERMINED to prove others wrong.


Much love! Would appreciate you follow my journey and recipes on my Instagram blog @thenuttycrohnie. Thinking about starting a blog page on a different site as well! Should I? All credit to my Savior Jesus Christ! Thanks for reading!! Blessings!

Interests - Select all that apply